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Full text of "PC Today Volume 2 Issue 12"

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December 2004 Vol.2 Iss. 12 
£7.99 U.S. $9.99 Canada 



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IBM recommends Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional. 




IBM ThinkPad R Series 



GO with IBM Think Express Program 

IBM Think Express models are designed, configured 
and priced with small to medium-size businesses in mind. 



IBM rated #1 in tech support for desktops 

and notebooks by PC Magazine readers. 

PC Magazine 17th Annual Reader 

Satisfaction Survey - July 14, 2004 



^Availability: All offers subject to availability. IBM reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time, without notice, IBM is not responsible for photographic or typographic errors. -Pricing: 
does not include tax or shipping and is subject to change without notice. Reseller prices may vary. Warranty: For a copy of applicable product warranties, write to: Warranty Information. P.O. Box 12195. RTF, NC 
27709, Attn: Dept JDJA/B203. IBM makes no representation or warranty regarding third-party products or services. Footnotes: (1) Embedded Security Subsystem: requires software download. (2) Mobile Processor: 
Power management reduces processor speed when in battery mode. (3) Wireless 11a, 11b and 11g: based on IEEE 802.1 1a. 802.11b and 802.1 1 g, respectively. An adapter with 11a/b, 1 1 b/g or 1 1 a/b/g can communicate 
on either or any of these listed formats respectively; the actual connection will be based on the access point to which it connects. (4) Included software: may differ from its retail version (if available) and may not 
include user manuals or all program functionality. License agreements may apply. (5) Memory: For PCs without a separate video card, memory supports both system and video. Accessible system memory is up to 
64MB less than the amount stated, depending on video mode. (6) Hard drive: GB = billion bytes. Accessible capacity is less; up to 4GB is service partition. (7) Wireless capability: requires compatible wireless- 
enabled options, sold separately. (8) Limited warranty: Support unrelated to a warranty issue may be subject to additional charges. (9) ServicePac services: are available for machines normally used for business, 
professional or trade purposes, rather than personal, family or household purposes. Service period begins with the equipment date of purchase. Service levels are response-time objectives and are not guarantees. If the 
machine problem turns out to be a Customer Replaceable Unit (CRU) : IBM will express ship the part to you for quick replacement. Onsite 24x7x2-hour service is not available in all locations. For ThinkPad notebooks requiring 




MOBILE 
TECHNOLOGY 



It makes managing wireless access 
easier from almost anywhere. These ibm 

ThinkPad notebooks come equipped with Intel" Centrino" Mobile 
Technology, so users can work wirelessly when they're, well, far away from 
the office.' 3 But they're also equipped with something that only IBM has — 
Access Connections. It makes switching between different network 
connections easier than ever. Once a connection profile's been created, 
simply select a location and it all happens automatically. There's no 
need to manually reconfigure settings or reboot each time the 
location changes. When it's easier for users to connect to a network on 
their own, a funny thing happens. It's also easier to disconnect from the 
help desk. To see a demo, go to ibm.com/shop/m527. M O U SIO PI ? 

we have a connection. 

Access Connections. Only on a ThinkPad. 
1 866 426-1040 ibm.com/shop/m527 



IBM ThinkPad R51 

Ultimate Value 

Distinctive IBM Innovations: 

• IBM Embedded Security Subsystem 2.0 1 - 
Strongest security as a standard feature (Excluding 
IBM models with Integrated Fingerprint Reader) 

• IBM Access Connections- Helps reduce 
wireless helpdesk calls 

System Features: 

• Intel® Centrino™ Mobile Technology 

• Intel® Pentium® M Processor 715 (1 .50GHz) 2 

• Intel® PRO/Wireless Network Connections 802.1 1 b/g 3 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional 4 
•14.1" XGA TFT display (1024x768} 
•256MB DDR SDRAM 5 

• 30GB hard drive 6 

• Ultrabay™ Enhanced CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo 

• IBM UltraConnect™ Antenna for increased 
signal strength 7 

• 1-yr system/battery limited warranty 3 



$1,299' 



NavCode 28838QU-M419 

THINK EXPRESS MODEL PRICED AT: 

$46/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business'* 
ServicePac :J; Service Upgrade: 9 
3-yr Depot Repair #3019192 $132 

IBM ThinkPad X40 

Our thinnest and lightest 

Distinctive IBM Innovations: 

• IBM Embedded Security Subsystem 2.0 - 
Strongest security as a standard feature 

• IBM Rescue and Recovery™ - 
One-button recovery and restore solution 

System Features: 

• Intel® Centrino 1 '' 1 Mobile Technology 

• Intel 8 Pentium'* M Processor ULV 1.1 GHz 

* Intel 3 PRO/Wireless Network Connection 802.1 Ib/g 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional 

• 1 2.1 ' XGA TFT display (1 024x768) 
•256MB DDR SDRAM 

• 20GB hard drive 

• Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and modem 

• Legendary IBM full-size keyboard'" 
•Only .94" thin" 

• 2.7-lb travel weight ? 

• 1-yr system/battery limited warranty 3 



NavCode 2386A4U 

THINK EXPRESS MODEL PRICED AT: 

$53/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 



$1,499' 



LCD or other component replacement, IBM may choose to perform service at the depot repair center. Calls must be received by 5pm local time in order to qualify for Next Business Day service. (10) Full-size keyboard: 
As defined by ISO/IEC 15412. (11) Thinness: may vary at certain points on the system. (12) Travel weight: includes battery and optional travel bezel instead of standard optical drive in Ultrabay bay, if applicable; weight 
may vary due to vendor components, manufacturing process and options. (13) Public network access limited: Subscription may be required and fees may apply. (19) SuccessLease: SuccessLease program, rates 
and terms are provided by third-party financiers approved by IBM Global Financing to credit-qualified business customers installing in the U.S. Featured monthly lease payments based on prespecified end-of-lease 
purchase option; documentation fee and first month's payment due at lease signing; taxes are additional. Options cannot be leased separately. IBM and IBM Global Financing reserve the right to alter product offerings, 
specifications or financing terms at any time, without notice. Trademarks: The following are trademarks or registered trademarks of IBM Corporation: IBM, the IBM logo, Rapid Restore, Rescue and Recovery, ThinkPad, 
Ultrabay, UltraConnect and UltraNav. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Intel, Intel Inside, Intel Inside logo, Intel Centrino, Intel Centrino logo, Intel SpeedStep and Pentium are 
trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of other companies, 
©2004 IBM Corporation. All rights reserved. 
Visit www.ibm.com/pc/safecomputing periodically for the latest information on safe and effective computing. 



Take a look at some of our latest models. And get connected. 




Why IBM ThinkPad Notebooks? 
To make IBM ThinkPad'' notebooks 
even more valuable, each one 
featured here can give you the 
efficiency, productivity and edge you 
need and comes with all the following 
ThinkVantage"' Technologies: 

IBM Active Protection System: 

Butterfingers unite! Select IBM 
ThinkPad notebooks now include 
airbag-like technology to help protect 
your hard drive from some damage 
caused by drops and jolts. 

NEW! Rescue and Recovery 
with Rapid Restore: 
Lost your data because of a 
software crash or virus? Recover 
previously saved data in minutes 
with our one-button solution. 

Access Connections: 

Switch between wired and wireless 

connections. 

Embedded Security 
Subsystem 2.0: 1 
Hackers and thieves, beware. Our 
combined hardware and software 
solution is designed to protect user 
data and keep it private. 

Access IBM: 

Get the help you need, when you 
need it. One button on your ThinkPad 
notebook brings you a world of 
resources and assistance, 

IBM ThinkPad R51 

System Features: 

• Intel® Centrino™ Mobile Technology 

• I ntel® Pentium* M Processor 71 5 (1,50GHz) 2 

• Intel® PRO/Wireless Network Connection 802.1 1b/g 3 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional' 1 

• 15" XGA TFT display (1024x768) 
•256MB DDR SDRAM 5 

• 40GB hard drive 6 

• Integrated Ethernet and modem 

• IBM Ultrabay~ M Enhanced CD-RW/ 
DVD-ROM combo 

• IBM UltraConnect 1,1 Antenna for 
increased signal strength 7 

•1-yr system/battery limited warranty 8 



NavCode 1836H7U-M41 9 
THINK EXPRESS MODEL 



$1,449' 



$53/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLeasefor Small Business 13 




IBM ThinkPad T42 

System Features: 

• Intel® Centrino™ Mobile Technology 

• Intel® Pentium® M Processor 1.50GHz 

• Intel® PROTWireless Connection 802.1 1b/g 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional 
•15" XGA TFT display (1024x768) 

• 32MB ATI Mobility RADEON 7500 graphics 
•256MB DDR SDRAM 

•40GB hard drive 

• Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and modem 

• IBM Ultrabay Slim CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo 

• IBM UltraConnect Antenna 
for increased signal strength 

•1-yr system/battery limited warranty 8 



NavCode2378DWU-M419 

THINK EXPRESS MODEL 
PRICED AT: 



$1,629 



S59/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 

ServicePac Service Upgrade'': 
3-yr Depot Repair #30L9192 $132 



IBM ThinkPad T42 

System Features: 

• Intel® Centrino™ Mobile Technology 

• Intel® Pentium® M Processor 735 (1 ,70GHz) 

• lntel e PRO/Wireless Network Connection 
802.11 b/g 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional 

• 15" XGATFT display (1024x768) 

• 32MB ATI Mobility RADEON 7500 graphics 
•512MB DDR SDRAM 

•40GB hard drive 

• Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and modem 

• IBM Ultrabay Slim CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo 

• IBM UltraConnect Antenna 
for increased signal strength 

• 1-yr system/battery limited warranty 8 



NavCode 2378FZU 
THINK EXPRESS MODEL 
PRICED AT: 



$1 ,899 



S62/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 
ServicePac Service Upgrade: 
4-yr Depot Repair #69P9195 $249 




IBM ThinkPad X40 

System Features: 

• Intel 5 * Centrino™ Mobile Technology 

• Intel® Pentium® M Processor LV 1 .20GHz 

• Intel® PRO/Wireless Connection 802.11b 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional 
•12.1" XGA TFT display (1024x768) 

• Intel Extreme Graphics 2 
•256MB DDR SDRAM 

• 40GB hard drive 

• Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and modem 

• Legendary IBM fullsize keyboard ' 

• 7.5hr Li-Ion battery 1 - 

• 1-yr system/battery limited warranty 3 



NavCode 23866GU-M41 9 
THINK EXPRESS MODEL 

PRICED AT: 



$1,699 



$61 /mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease tor Small Business 
ServicePac Service Upgrade: 
3-yr Onsite Repair/9x5/Next Business Day 
Response #30L9195 $243 



IBM ThinkPad X40 Solution Pack 

IBM ThinkVantage Technologies: 

• Longest standard battery life of any 
leading-brand notebook' 1 

System Features: 

• Intel 3 Centrino™ Mobile Technology 

• Intel® Pentium® M Processor LV 1.20GHz 

• Intel® PRO/Wireless Network Connection 802.11b 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional 
•12.1" XGA TFT display (1024x768) 

• 256MB DDR SDRAM 

• 40GB hard drive 

• Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and modem 
•7.5-hr Li-Ion battery 

• 3-yr system/1 -yr battery limited warranty 8 
Accessories Included: 

• ThinkPad X4 UltraBase Dock 

• IBM Ultrabay Slim CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo 
NavCode 23826UU-M41 9 

THINK EXPRESS MODEL 
PRICED AT; 



$78/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 

ServicePac Service Upgrade: 

5-yr Onsite Repair/9x5/Next Business Day 

Response #69P9200 $449 




(Monitor not included) 

Why IBM ThinkCentre PCs? 
Only IBM offers these features to 
protect your users, connect them, 
and keep them working. Each 
ThinkCentre lw desktop featured here 
can give them the efficiency, 
productivity and edge they need 
with the following ThinkVantage 
Technologies: 

Rescue and Recovery 
with Rapid Restore: 
Lost your data because of a 
software crash or virus? Recover 
previously saved data in minutes 
with our one-button solution. 

Access IBM: 

Get the help you need, when you 
need it. One button on your 
ThinkCentre desktop brings you a 
world of IBM resources and 
assistance. 

ImageUltra 1 '- 1 Builder: 
Need to roll out new systems? 
Image and copy your operating 
system across your network in a 
flash. (Order separately) 



IBM ThinkCentre A5Q 

System Features: 

• Intel'- Pentium- 4 Processor 
with HT Technology 3.0GHz 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional 

• Tower form factor 
•256MB DDR PC3200 : 

• 40GB hard drive • CD-ROM 

• Integrated 10/100 Ethernet 

• Norton Antivirus"' with 90 days of virus 
definition updates 

• Lotus® SmartSuite® Millennium license 

• 1-yr parts limited warranty with 1-yr 
limited onsite service 7 



$2,199 



NavCode 81 4821 U-M41 9 

THINK EXPRESS MODEL 
PRICED AT: 



$649 



$25/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 

ServicePac Service Upgrade: 

2-yr Onsite Repair/9x5/Next Business Day 

Response #54P1859 $75 



NavCode Get the latest pricing and information fast. Use NavCode on the phone or on the Web. 



* Availability: All offers subject to availability. IBM reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at anytime, without notice. IBM is not responsible for photographic or typographic errors. *Pricing: does 
not include tax or shipping and is subject to change without notice. Reseller prices may vary Warranty: For a copy of applicable product warranties, write to: Warranty Information, P.O. Box 12195, RTP, NC 27709, Attn: 
Dept JDJA/B203. IBM makes no representation or warranty regarding third-party products or services. Footnotes: (1) Embedded security system: requires software download. (2) Mobile Processors: Power 
management reduces processor speed when in battery mode. (3) Wireless 11a, 11b and 11g: based on IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.1 1g, respectively. An adapter with 11a/b, 11 b/g or 1 1 a/b/g can communicate on 
either or any of these listed formats respectively; the actual connection will be based on the access point to which it connects. (4) Included software: may differ from its retail version (if available) and may not include 
user manuals or all program functionality. License agreements may apply. (5) Memory: For PCs without a separate video card, memory supports both system and video. Accessible system memory is up to 64MB less 
than the amount stated, depending on video mode. (6) Hard drive: GB = billion bytes. Accessible capacity is less; up to 4GB is service partition. (7) Wireless capability: requires compatible wireless-enabled options, 
sold separately. (8) Limited warranty: Support unrelated to a warranty issue may be subject to additional charges. (12) ServicePac services: are available for machines normally used for business, professional or trade 
purposes, rather than personal family or household purposes. Service period begins with the equipment date of purchase. Service levels are response-time objectives and are not guarantees. If the machine problem 
turns out to be a Customer Replaceable Unit (CRU), IBM will express ship the part to you for quick replacement. Onsite 24x7x2-hour service is not available in all locations. For ThinkPad notebooks requiring LCD or other 



IBM recommends Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional, 




(Monitor not included) 

IBM ThinkCentre A50 
Ultra small form factor 

System Features: 

• Intel' 1 Pentium'' 4 Processor 
with HT Technology 3.0GHz 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional 

• Ultra small form factor — 74% smaller 
than a standard IBM desktop'* 

•256MB DDR PC3200 

• 40GB hard drive CD-ROM 

• Norton Antivirus with 90 days of virus 
definition updates 

• Lotus SmartSuite Millennium license 

• Gigabit- Ethernet Integrated 

• 1-yr limited warranty with limited 
onsite service 17 

NavCode 809021 U-M41 9 



THINK EXPRESS MODEL 
PRICED AT: 



$799 



$799 



ServicePac Service Upgrade: 
3-yr 0nsite/9x5/4-hr Response 
#54P1862 $239 




IBM eServer BladeCenter 

System Features: 

• Flexible - full performance and 
manageability of traditional rack 
optimized platforms 

• Infrastructure integration - help lower 
TCO and increase control 

• Simplify - easy to deploy, easy to 
install, easy to manage 

•HS20 

• Intel 8 Xeon™ 2.8Ghz/533Mhz FSB 
-40GB IDE/2GE DDR2 PC2100 

■ 3-year limited warranty 
NavCode 8832LEX Price 2,589 

• BladeCenter Chassis 

• 7U rack mount chassis- up to 1 4 blades per chassis 

• 2000W power 

• Cisco Ethernet switch module 



$29/mofor36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 

ServicePac Service Upgrade: 
3-yr Onsite/9x5/Next Business Day 
Response #54P1 861 $132 

IBM ThinkCentre A51p 

(model not shown) 
System Features: 

• Intel 56 Pentium® 4 Processor 530 
with HT Technology 

• Processor speed 3.0GHz 

•800MHz FSB 

• Microsoft Windows XP Professional 

• Tower form factor 

• 256MB DDR2 PC2-3200 • CD-ROM 
•40GB hard drive 

• Gigabit Ethernet-integrated 

• IBM Embedded Security Subsystem 2.0 

• 1-yr parts limited warranty with 
1-yr limited onsite service' 7 

NavCode 842721 U-M41 9 

THINK EXPRESS MODEL 
PRICED AT: 

$29/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 



$7,289 



NavCode 86773EU 

EXPRESS MODEL PRICED AT: 

$92/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 
ServicePac Service Upgrade: 
3-yr Onsite/9x5/4 hr Response 
HS20 #69P9517 $279 
BladeCenter Chassis 41 L2736 $600 



IBM eServer xSeries 336 

System Features: 

i* Leading performance with Intel's 
EM64T technology - 32 and 64bit 
simultaneous computing 

• High Availability with redundant power 
and hot swap fans - Calibrated Vectored 
Cooling enables density and performance 

• Simple Management with on board service 
processors and optional remote 
managment support - take control of 
your server environment 

» Intel Xeon 2.8Ghz/800Mhz FSB 

• Two 73GB SCSI/2GB DDR2 PC3200 



$3,349 



NavCode 8837QELI 
EXPRESS MODEL 

PRICED AT: 

$119/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 
ServicePac Service Upgrade: 
4-yr Onsite/9x5/4-hr Response 
#69P9243 $609 




The IBM Infoprinf 1412 

System Features: 

• Monochrome Laser/200 MHz processor 

• Speed: Print up to 27 
pages-per-minute (ppm) 20 

• First page-out time as fast as 8 seconds 20 

• Print quality: up to 2400 image quality 

• 32MB of memory 

• Parallel and USB attachment and 
10/100 Base TX Fast Ethernet interfaces 

• 1-yr limited warranty 17 



NavCode 75P5759 

PRICED AT BASE = 

NavCode 75P5760 



$429 
$519 



250 Sheet Tray #75P61 12 $92 

ServicePac Service Upgrade: 
1-yr Onsite/9x5/Next Business Day 
4-yr Response #29R551 8 $47 



The lnfoprint @ 1422dn 

System Features: 

• Monochrome Laser/366 MHz processor 

• Speed: Print up to 32 
pages-per-minute (ppm) ?r ' 

• First page-out time as fast as 9 seconds ?0 

• Print quality: up to 2400 image quality 

• Up to 64MB of memory 

• Parallel and USB attachment and 
10/100 Base TX Fast Ethernet interfaces 

• Duplex capability 

• 1-yr limited warranty 1 



NavCode 75P5984 

PRICED AT: 

$29/mo for 36 months 
SuccessLease for Small Business 



$799 




MOBILE 
TECHNOLOGY 



IBM Think Express Program: 

We've designed and priced many of 
our products specifically for small and 
medium businesses, And best of all, 
they're available direct from IBM or 
through select IBM Business Partners. 



IBM ThinkPad Accessories 

Belkin Components Universal Notebook 
Travel Surge Protector 
#22P71 27 $20 

Targus Wireless Optical Mini Mouse 
#22P7438 $27 

IBM ThinkPad Carrying Case ,R - Expander 
#73P3597 $59 

ThinkPad 72W AC/DC Combo Adapter 
#22P9010 $99 

ThinkPad Port Replicator II 
#74P6733 $179 



IBM ThinkCentre Accessories 

IBM UPS 500 
#3313477 $99 

IBM ThinkVision™ L150 15" Flat Panel 
Monitor with system purchase 
#W9SPAB1 $379 



IBM Server Accessories 

IBM S2 42U Standard Rack Cabinet 
#93074SX $1,489 

IBM Rackmount XLV 3000VA UPS 
#2130R30 $1,799 



1 866 426-1040 ibm.com/shop/m527 



component replacement, IBM may choose to perform service at the depot repair center. Calls must be received by 5pm local time in order to qualify for Next Business Day Service. (14) Full-size keyboard: As defined 
by ISO/IEC 15412. (15) Battery: These model numbers achieved the Ziff Davis Media, Inc.'s Business Winstone^ 2002 BatteryMark 11 ' 1 Version 1.0 Battery Rundown Time of at least the time shown. This test was performed 
without independent verification by the VeriTest testing division of Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. ('VeriTest") or Ziff Davis Media, Inc.; neither Ziff Davis Media, Inc., nor VeriTest makes any representations or warranties 
as to these test results. Winstone is a registered trademark and BatteryMark is a trademark of Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings, Inc., in the U.S, and other countries, A description of the environment under which the test 
was performed is available at ibm .corn/pc/ww/th i n kpad/batte ryl if e. Battery life (and recharge times) will vary based on many factors including screen brightness, applications, features, power management, battery conditioning 
and other customer preferences. (16) Size claims: are based on a comparison of chassis volume to the volume of IBM's standard desktop chassis. (17) Systems with limited onsite service: are designed to be repaired 
during the applicable warranty period primarily with customer-replaceable parts provided by IBM. IBM will only send a technician onsite to perform a repair if (a) remote telephone diagnosis and/or customer part replacement 
are unable to resolve the problem, or (b) the part is one of the few designated by IBM for onsite replacement. For a list of onsite replaceable parts, contact IBM. Support unrelated to a warranty issue may be subject to 
additional charges. (18) Certain IBM logo products: are not manufactured, warranted or supported by IBM; IBM logos and trademarks used under license. Contact IBM for details. (19) SuccessLease: SuccessLease 
program, rates and terms are provided by third-party financiers approved by IBM Global Financing to credit-qualified business customers installing in the U.S. Featured monthly lease payments based on prespecified 
end-of-lease purchase option; documentation fee and first month's payment due at lease signing; taxes are additional. Options cannot be leased separately. IBM and IBM Global Financing reserve the right to alter product 
offerings, specifications or financing terms at any time, without notice. (20) Print speed: Exact speed varies depending on document complexity system configuration, software application, driver and printer state. (21) 
Battery Life: Based on manufacturers published figures or CNET.com results for the top 5 vendors in 2003 notebook sales based on IDC data as of 1/29/2004. Trade marks: The following are trademarks or registered 
trademarks of IBM Corporation: IBM, the IBM logo. ImageUltra, Lotus, NavCode, Rapid Restore, Rescue and Recovery, SmartSuite, ThinkCentre, ThinkPad, ThinkVantage. ThinkVision. UltraConnect, UltraBase, Ultrabay 
and UltraNav. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Intel, Intel Inside, Intel Inside logo, Intel Centrino, Intel Centrino logo, Intel SpeedStep and Pentium are trademarks or registered 
trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of other companies. © 2004 IBM Corporation. 
All rights reserved. Visit www.ibm.com/pc/safecomputing periodically for the latest information on safe and effective computing. 



Table Of Contents: Volume 2 • Issue 12 • December 2004 




Cover Story 

Osnza 2.DD3 
5iJ/VJV3jJ SjjjsJs 

Change is good. Change is good. Change is good. That common mantra, designed to 
convince ourselves that the glass is half full, is especially apropos after the system 
administrator comes along and upgrades our Office software. In that spirit, and 
given the constant rise in company-wide Office upgrades, here's our guide to getting 
along with Office 2003. 

44 Did You Get The Memo? 

48 Navigate Outlook 2003 

50 Track & Organize Email 

52 Banish Junk Email 

54 Personal Library 

56 Read, Compare & Merge Documents 

58 Manage Related Information 

60 Master Smart Tags 

62 Work With XML 

64 Keep Track Of Clips 

66 Organize Your Images 

67 Scan With Ease 

68 Transforming Printed Text Into Digital Text 

69 Downloads For Office 2003 



Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United 
States and /or other countries. PC Today is not published in conjunction with Microsoft, and it has not been 
endorsed or sponsored by Microsoft. The use of the Microsoft and Windows trademarks in this publication 
does not represent participation in, or endorsement of, this publication by Microsoft. 



^^ 



■ ■ 




Sandhills 
Publishing- 



copyright 2004 by Sandhills Publishing Company. PC Today is a registered trademark of Sandhills Publishing 
Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction of material appearing in PC Today is strictly prohibited without 
written permission. Printed in the U.S.A. GST # 123482788RT0001. PC Today (ISSN 1040-6484) is published 
monthly for $29 per year by Sandhills Publishing Company, 131 West Grand Drive, P.O. Box 85380, Lincoln, 
NE 68501-5380. Subscriber Services: (800) 733-3809. Periodicals postage pending at Lincoln, NE. 
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PC Today, P.O. Box 85380, Lincoln, NE 68501-5380. 



News, Views & Expert Advice Tips & Tweaks 




Look no further than this department for operating system 
news, the scoop about recent Windows updates, and profes- 
sional opinions from our expert columnists. 

8 OS Wire 

The Latest Operating System News 

14 Windows Update Tracker 

Windows Updates You Should 
Consider For Your System 

16 Scot's Take 

The Long Road To Longhom 

18 Windows Warfare 

Cover Your Tracks & Stop Snoops Cold 

20 IT Corner 

Things Fall Apart 

22 Roadside Assistance 

Traveler's Advisory 

24 This Old Desktop 

Get Back to the Batch 

Windows Boot Camp 

If you're in the market for some basic, practical advice about 
Windows and Microsoft Office, this department is the perfect 
place to start. 

26 Entry-Level Windows * m 

Install, Run & Uninstall Software 

30 Start-To-Finish Guide 

How To Reinstall Windows 

33 Crib Sheet 

Windows Commands 

Experts Only 

Whether you're a battle-scarred PC veteran or a less experienced 
user looking to expand your horizons, this department has some 
practical advice that can help. 



36 Advanced Guide 

The BIOS 

39 Outside The Box 

Search The Web 
With Power 






This department is your one-stop shop for productivity, system 
optimization, Web browsing, security, networking, mobile 
computing, and all sorts of other tips and tweaks. 

72 Work Smarter 

Tips For Increasing Productivity 

74 Optimization Central 

Tips & Tweaks For Improving Windows 

76 Surf Better 

Tips For Navigating The Internet 

78 Security & Networking 

Tips For Making Safe Connections 

80 PC Yesterday 

Tips For Maintaining Windows 3.x/95 Systems 

82 Mobile Computing 

Tips For Using Notebooks & Pocket PCs 



PCToday-com 



84 PC Today Online 

Take A Sneak Peek At What's Coming 



Previews & Reviews 

Whether you're on the lookout for new hardware or you're just 
curious about what's coming to computer store shelves near you, 
take a look at our previews of imminent items. Right after that, 
check out our latest software reviews, including this month's 
head-to-head challenge. 



86 



The Hardware Scene 

A Look At New & Upcoming Arrivals 




92 



95 



99 



Free Email Clients 

Eudora 6.1 vs. Pegasus Mail 4.21c 

Software Reviews 

InstantEffects OfficeFX 

Directory Opus 

NTI Backup NOW! 3 Deluxe Suite 

Download City 

Problem-Solving Shareware Packs A Punch 




After Five 



It's 5:01 and the workday is done. If you're ready to get more entertainment value out of 
your PC, this section is just for you. 

101 Your Turn 

The Best Free "On Hold" Games On The Web 

104 Play Hard 

A Look At What's New In PC Gaming 




Last Bytes 



Every latte needs some froth. To top off this issue, here's our monthly blend of fun facts, 
statistics, and trivia. 



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Editorial Staff. Ronald D. Kobler / Calvin Clinchard / Ra< ' 
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Fitzke / Katie Dolan / Blaine Flamig / R ... _ _. 

Tara Weber / Sally Marek / Michael Sweet / Shawn Ki , 

/ Dana Montey / Nate Hoppe / Sheila Allen /Jennifer 

Hansen / Trista Kunce / Linne Ourada / Liz Dixon / Ma 

Sems / Chad Denton / Nathan Chandler / Kylee Dickey / 

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Web Staff. Missy Fletcher / Dorene Krausnick / Nick Ray / 

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Subscription Renewals Liz Kohout / Connie Beatty / Matt 

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Art & Design: Lesa Call / Fred Schneider / Carrie Benes / 

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Weston / Aaron Clark / Kelli Lambertsen / Lori Garris / 

Jason Codr / Andria Schultz / Erin Rodriguez / Lindsay 

Anker 

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McGreer / Jeff Schnittker 

Advertising Sales Grant Ossenkop / Cindy Pieper / Brooke 

Wolzen / Eric Cobb / Emily Getzschman 

Marketing Mark Peery / Marcy Gunn / Amber Coffin / Jen 

Clausen 



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OS Wire 



Microsoft Shares Office 2003 Code 
With Governments Worldwide 



n 



J -j Microsoft" 

j Off ice 



Following the path of 
a new program initiated 
in 2003, Microsoft plans 
to give qualifying na- 
tional governments and 

international organizations access to the source code of 
Microsoft Office 2003 (along with proprietary technical informa- 
tion on the product). The initiative, known as the Government 
Shared Source License for Office, is part of the company's GSP 
(Government Security Program). Last year, Microsoft released 
its Windows source code and Microsoft Office 2003 XML 
Reference Schemas (a set of standards and interface descriptions 
for document storage) as part of the GSP. 

Under the terms of the GSP's three-year contract, govern- 
ments can access Microsoft's product source code and use it to 
develop new software, but they cannot modify the existing 
source code. To date, more than half of the 60 eligible countries 
have signed GSP agreements. Participants include Australia, 
China, Norway, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. 

According to Microsoft, the GSP fosters trust and confi- 
dence in its products and facilitates communication and col- 
laboration between participating governments and Microsoft. 
In addition to having access to Windows 2000 /XP/ Server /CE 
and now Office 2003 source code and technical documenta- 
tion, participants can visit Microsoft's U.S. development facili- 
ties and review various aspects of the Windows and Office 
source-code development, testing, and deployment processes. 
Furthermore, Microsoft invites GSP participants to discuss ex- 
isting and potential projects with Microsoft experts. 

Microsoft supporters applaud the move, saying it lets 
governments develop custom software solutions that interop- 
erate more effectively and securely 
with Windows and Office. Addi- 
tionally, participation in Micro- 
soft's development process lets 
governments have a say in the 
future of the technologies they 
will later employ. 

Critics of the software behemoth, however, suggest Micro- 
soft's move has less to do with concern for the customer than it 
does with preservation. Microsoft faces growing competition 
from open-source rivals such as Linux, especially among the 
governments of developing nations with little or no budget for 
software licenses. I 



by Jennifer Farwell 



Microsoft has added 

Office 2003 to the list of 

programs whose source 

code it is sharing with 

eligible governments. 




GPS On The Cheap 

A few years ago, GPS (global posi- 
tioning system) devices became an instant 
hit with early adopters. For those with 
deep pockets, the devices caught on 
quickly for everything from simple direc- 
tions to elaborate, GPS-driven scavenger 
hunts. This holiday season, however, even the thriftiest con- 
sumer can take the security of GPS on the road to Grandma's. 
Microsoft is bundling a Pharos GPS add-on device with its 
Streets & Trips 2005 mapping software. For a mere $129, you 
can turn any notebook computer with a USB (Universal Serial 
Bus) port into a GPS device. Consumers with Pocket PCs or 
smartphones can also use the devices, although they will 
need to purchase a third-party 
expansion pack available from 
various retailers. 

"By far the hottest consumer 
location-based technology prod- 
ucts available are GPS and mo- 
bile mapping products that can 
provide real-time mapping and 
travel information while on the 
road," says Michael Graff, gen- 
eral manager of Microsoft's 
MapPoint Business Unit. 
"Anticipating the growth in mo- 
bile GPS and mapping solutions, 
we worked with [GPS device 
manufacturer] Pharos and [GPS 
chipset maker] SiRF Technology 
to produce a GPS device that 

was modular and would work 

with personal computers as well as Windows Mobile-based 
Pocket PCs and smartphones." 

Thanks to 24 satellites that hover around the globe, transmit- 
ting data back and forth in seconds, GPS devices do not require 
an Internet connection to pinpoint locations, which means GPS 

users are in luck when they be- 
come lost or discover that a 
mapped route is not available. 
The Streets & Trips 2005 soft- 
ware features 5.4 million miles 
of local, city, and highway 
roads in the United States and 
Canada, plus 1.8 million points 
of interest, including hotels, 
restaurants, and other services. 
Travelers also can adjust direc- 
tions as they go or map out 
various routes to and from 
multiple locations. I 



You can turn your notebook, 
PocketPC, or smartphone 
into a GPS (global positioning 
system) device using Micro- 
soft's Streets & Trips 2005 
With GPS Locator. 




j Office 

Professional Edition 2003 




8 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



N 



ews, Views &: Expert Advice 




MSN Music Taps Classic Jazz Archive 

In October, jazz aficionados gained online access to 
more than four decades of rare, live recordings thanks to a 
three-year agreement between MSN Music (music.msn.com) 
and the Monterey Jazz Festival. Under the terms of the 
exclusive agreement, MSN Music will offer six live perfor- 
mances from the current year's festival, plus six to 12 archival 
recordings never before released, on its site each year. Artists 
scheduled for the lineup include giants from the famed Blue 
Note Records stable of jazz greats as well as other renowned 
jazz performers. 

"This exclusive relationship with MSN Music allows us to 
share the music of the tremendous performers who appear 
each year at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the massive 
MSN online audience," says Tim Jackson, general manager 
of the festival, who will select the Festival tracks available 
through MSN Music. "We can't think of a better way to 
help bring an art form conceived in the 20th century into the 
21st century." 

Each song in the group will cost 99 cents for download 
(Microsoft .Net Passport required) and will be encoded 
at extra-high quality (an average of 160Kbps [kilobits per 
second]) for excellent fidelity. MSN Music will post each 
year's collection for a limited period of 12 months, after 
which time the company will replace it with the current year's 
collection. At press time the Web site for the jazz archive 
was www.music.msn.com/music/mjf2004, although this 
may change. 

A feather in Microsoft's cap. The MSN-Monterey Jazz 
Festival agreement represents a coup for the fledgling online 
music download service, which debuted in full preview ver- 
sion on Sept. 1. MSN Music faces stiff competition from 
Apple's iTunes, the entrenched music download leader, as 
well as from Yahoo!, which recently acquired Musicmatch, 
developer of the popular Jukebox program that offers digital 
music downloads and subscriptions. MSN Music's library is 



47th Annual 



Jazz Kjstival 

^^^^^^^^^H presented by Yf p T 

& September 17-19 2004 

MSN Music scored its first big coup by inking an exclusive 
agreement to carry never-before-released recording from the 
Monterey Jazz Festival on its Web site. 



comparable to those of iTunes and Musicmatch, and it offers 
recordings that are not available on either site. 

Nevertheless, with 70% of the legal download market, 
iTunes will likely prove a tough opponent for MSN Music. 
One distinct advantage that MSN Music offers over iTunes 
is that users can port downloaded songs to any WMA 
(Windows Media Audio)-compatible portable player. iTunes 
downloads work only on Apple's proprietary player, the 
iPod. Additionally, MSN Music is currently test marketing a 
streaming music feature that mimics listeners' favorite radio 
stations — minus the DJs and advertisements. 

However, with iTunes, users can play songs on Macs and 
PCs (as many as five), while MSN Music songs play only on 
PCs (as many as five). Additionally, iTunes lets users burn 
purchased songs to CDs indefinitely, while MSN Music 
restricts burning rights to a maximum of seven CDs per song. 




According to MSN, users can expect performances by jazz greats 
such as Don Byron in the lineup. (Photo courtesy Monterey 
Jazz Festival.) 



PC Today / December 2004 9 




ews, Views &C Expert Advice 



Virus Makers Target Windows; Become Increasingly Crafty & Aggressive 



Computer security company Symantec (www.symantec 
.com) is again warning users to exercise extreme caution 
regarding their level of exposure to the Internet. According to 
the firm, although the discovery of vulnerabilities appears to 
have leveled off, the increasingly hostile stance of attackers 
means many more threats are lurking. Specifically, Symantec 
reports that users of Microsoft Windows are becoming more 
likely targets. 

According to the most recent Symantec Security Threat 
Report, the number of new worms and viruses directed at 
Windows users rose to more than 400% in 2004 compared to 
2003. Earlier this year, from January to July (the period of time 
the report covers), Symantec documented more than 4,496 new 
Windows-related intrusions compared with 1,000 during the 
same period in 2003. Additionally, Symantec reports that 
client-side attacks (which target individual users rather than 
corporate networks or servers) are on the rise. These two 
trends further increase the exposure risk for consumers run- 
ning unprotected Windows installations. 

Other highlights of the report (as recorded over the report 
period unless otherwise noted): 

• Independent researchers identified 1,237 new vulnerabili- 
ties (flaws in hardware or software that attackers can 
exploit); an average of seven per day. This represents a 5% 
increase over the final six months of 2003, but 16% fewer 
than during the January to July report period in 2003. 
However, Symantec asserts that the decrease likely repre- 
sents a plateau in the rate of discovery and not a decrease in 
the number of vulnerabilities that exist. Of the new vulnera- 
bilities discovered, experts rated 96% as moderately or 
highly severe and 70% as easy to exploit. 

• The average time between the public disclosure of a vulnera- 
bility and the appearance of associated exploit code (informa- 
tion needed to exploit the vulnerability) is 5.8 days. 



Daily number of bot network-associated IP addresses 



The number of computers associated with a bot network (a 
network of systems controlled remotely, often without the 
consent of the owner) rose from less than 2,000 to more 
than 30,000; an increase of more than 1,500%. According to 
Symantec, this exponential increase is of extreme concern be- 
cause bots vastly increase the speed and breadth of attacks. 
Malicious code writers are working with spammers to help 
them access vulnerable systems and flood computers with 
spam. Additionally, Symantec forecasts a rise in the use of 
spam as a carrier for traditional threats (viruses, worms, and 
Trojan horses), as well as schemes involving phishing (an 
attempt by a third party to solicit confidential data in order 
to commit fraudulent acts). 

The ecommerce industry is the most intensely attacked in- 
dustry, with 16% of attackers targeting ecommerce entities; a 
400% increase over the final six months of 2003. Small busi- 
ness represents the second-most targeted group. 
Attacks on other OSes and devices will soon become more 
prominent. In August, researchers discovered the first 
backdoor Trojan (a malicious program that lets a remote, 
unauthorized user access a computer's data) to target the 
Windows Mobile OSes. Additionally, viruses that target 
64-bit Windows, Symbian OS smartphones, and Windows 
CE are appearing. Code writers have used documented 
Linux vulnerabilities in proof-of-concept exploits (code that 
proves an attack is possible but does not actually launch 
one), indicating the appearance of Linux worms and other 
threats is imminent. 

Attackers are now targeting hardware such as routers 
and firewall devices, discovering ways to alter a device's 
firmware and compromise its security. This new angle may 
pose a significant threat in the near future. 
Malicious code writers are working intently to develop 
threats capable of metamorphism (extensive mutation 
between generations). Metamorphic 
viruses are difficult for antivirus scan- 
ners to identify because each new gener- 
ation has characteristics not found in 
previous versions. 



4 



*v* 






v->: 



Source: Symantec Corporation 
TMSteta 



For more on Internet security, visit 
Symantec's site. To download a full copy of 
the report (registration required), click the 
Symantec Internet Security Threat Report 
Volume VI link. I 



The latest Symantec Security Threat Report 
identifies a number of alarming trends, 
particularly the exponential increase of 
computers associated with a bot network. 



10 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



N 



ews, Views &: Expert Advice 




10 Things You Should Know About Windows XP Service Pack 2 



Many unenthusiastic faces greeted Microsoft's WinXP Service 
Pack 2 late summer release. And many journalists, including PC 
Today columnist Scot Finnie, recommended that home users 
hold off at least 30 days before installing the service pack. Now 
that the dust has settled, Scot has outlined the 10 most important 
things you should know about WinXP SP2, whether you've in- 
stalled it already or not. What follows is the shortened list; for 
the entire article, visit www.pctoday.com/pctdecl2/sp2. 

1. Yes, you should install WinXP SP2. There are some inconve- 
niences, but they probably don't outweigh the advantages. 

2. Obtain the download or CD. You can use the Windows 
Update feature available from Microsoft (www.microsoft 
.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=049c9dbe-3b8e- 
4f30-8245-9e368d3cdb5a), or request it on CD (www 
.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/sp2 
/cdorder/en_us). 

3. WinXP SP2 includes WinXP Service Pack 1. 

4. Windows Security Center is insignificant. The Windows Se- 
curity Center can be a useful warning meter in the event that 
your software firewall stops working or your antivirus defini- 
tions are out-of-date. But all in all, it is neither a reason to in- 
stall nor a reason to avoid installing WinXP SP2. 



5. Application woes. Before you install WinXP SP2, you should 
find out what you can about applications that may not work 
properly with the WinXP upgrade (www.support.microsoft 
.com/default.aspx?kbid=842242&product=windowsxpsp2). 

6. The Information Bar may wear you out with warnings. The 
list of WinXP SP2 annoyances starts with the Information 
Bar, which warns you when you're about to do something 
Internet Explorer thinks might be a dumb idea. 

7. You can't make lasting decisions with Attachment Man- 
ager. Unfortunately, there are few ways to control Attach- 
ment Manager. 

8. You may experience long shutdown times with Automatic 
Updates. If Windows appears to get stuck during the shut- 
down process, chances are it's actually installing recently re- 
leased Windows updates. 

9. Automatic login issues exist. Login authentication for Web 
sites and local networks changed with WinXP SP2, so be pre- 
pared to enter usernames and passwords that were previ- 
ously "remembered" so you wouldn't have to. 

10. There's a lot to like. For example, IE's new Add-Ons 
Manager, which lets you manage BHOs (browser help ob- 
jects), browser toolbars, and ActiveX controls. I 



It's Official: Longhorn Due Out In 2006 

Microsoft has officially announced the 2006 target date for 
the Longhorn client OS (the successor to Windows XP), rein- 
forcing comments Bill Gates made last spring. It has also 
confirmed that the new WinFS (Windows File System) will not 



Current & Upcoming OSes 



2000 

Windows 2000 
Professional 

March 2000 

Windows Me 

December 2000 

2001 

Windows XP 

October 2001 

2002 

WinXP Media 
Center Edition 

November 2002 

2003 

WinXP Tablet 
PC Edition 

February 2003 

WinXP Media 
Center Edition 2004 

October 2003 

WinXP Service 
Pack 2 Beta 

December 2003 



Mac OS X 10.3 

(aka Panther) 

October 2003 

Linux 2.6 

Late December 2003 

2004 

Windows Longhorn 

WinHEC2004 

Build 4074 

May 2004 

Bill Gates Proclaims 
Diskette Dead 

May 2004 

WinXP Service Pack 2 
Apple Mac OS X 10.3.5 

August 2004 

WinXP SP2 

Q3 2004 

WinXP Media Center 

Edition 2005 and 

Windows Media 

Player 10 

Fall 2004 



Microsoft Virtual 
Server 2005 

Late 2004 

2005 

Longhorn Desktop 
and Server Beta 

Mid-2005* 



Macintosh OS X 10.4 Tiger Windows XP Professional 



Mid-2005* 

2006 

Longhorn Desktop 
WinFS Beta 

Second half of 2006* 

Longhorn Desktop 

Mid-2006* 

Longhorn Server Beta 2 

Mid-2006* 

Windows 98/Me 
Extended Support Ends 

June 2006 

Windows XP Home 
Extended Support Ends 

December 2006 



be a part of Longhorn. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced 
that it would debut Longhorn with a scaled-down version of 
WinFS if necessary to meet the delivery target but stopped 
short of announcing the new file system's delay. 

To date, industry analysts have 
considered WinFS an important 
component of Longhorn. According 
to Microsoft, the advanced storage 
architecture would have made it 
easier for Windows users to locate 
and cross-link data of all types and 
in myriad locations. Microsoft now 
says WinFS will be in beta when 
Longhorn debuts. 

The announcement reverberated 
across the computer industry, with 
analysts wondering what significant 
advantages Longhorn will offer over 
WinXP now that WinFS is gone. 
Specifically, research firm Gartner 
suggests that Microsoft is planning 
the 2006 release of Longhorn as a 
customer appeasement. Gartner 
recommends current Windows 
users standardize on WinXP and not 
make any plans based on promised 
features in Longhorn or WinFS. I 



2007 

Win2000 Professional 
Extended Support Ends 

March 2007 

Longhorn Server 

2007* 

2008 



Edition Extended 
Support Ends 

December 2008 

WinXP Tablet PC 
Extended Support Ends 

December 2008 

Windows Longhorn 

Server Update and 

Service Pack Release 

2008 or 2009 

2010+ 



Windows Blackcomb 

*Estimated 



PC Today / December 2004 11 



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Windows^P 
- rri 




Windows Updates You Should Consider 
For Your System 



At long last, the much-anticipated 
Windows XP Service Pack 2 is here. 
And you can get your free copy through 
the Windows Update Web site. 

We mentioned last issue that Win- 
dows Update (windowsupdate. micro 
soft.com) itself has undergone a trans- 
formation. Now we understand that it's 
not coincidental that this Web site is up- 
dated at about the same time WinXP 
SP2 arrives. 

Among the many new features SP2 
delivers to your system is an enhance- 
ment to the Automatic Updates tool. In 
case you're not yet familiar with this fea- 
ture, click the Windows logo on your 
Taskbar or the appropriate link on the 
Windows Update Web site. Once this 
feature is enabled, the Update site can 
deliver all the high-priority updates 
your system needs. In fact, you can 
schedule automatic updates to take 
place at the same time each day. 

Or, if you want a little more say in the 
matter, just go to Windows Update and 



choose the Custom Installation link. The 
site will scan your computer and display 
all the updates, high-priority and op- 
tional, you can download and install. 
Then you can pick and choose from 
among this list. 

The Automatic Updates tool existed 
before SP2 and the new version of the 
Windows Update Web site. But with 
the arrival of both of these things, youTl 







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If you choose Custom Installation, the Windows 
Update program will scan your system and 
display a list of high-priority and optional updates 
you can install. 



notice not only a change in the appear- 
ance of the Update site, but also a 
greater emphasis in the automatic na- 
ture of getting updates. Thus, Micro- 
soft chose to enhance the Automatic 
Updates tool through SP2. One of the 
improvements to Automatic Updates is 
better service for those still using a dial- 
up connection. 

For most users, this greater emphasis 
on automation is a welcome change. 
However, if you prefer to look through 
the Windows Update Catalog, here's one 
good way to access it through the new 
Update site. Click the Frequently Asked 
Questions link and then scroll all the way 
down to the bottom of the page. Under 
the How Can I Get More Updates? 
question, choose the Windows Update 
Catalog link, and youTl be returned to 
the previous version of this Web site 
where you can peruse updates to your 
heart's content. 

One important note for those who 
prefer the automated process: Windows 
Update supports Windows Me/2000/ 
XP, but not Windows 98. Those users 
will have to search the catalog for 
archived updates. 



ne 



WinXP 

Windows XP Service 
Pack 2 (266MB). With a 
heavy emphasis on secu- 
rity-related improvements, Microsoft 
promises that this is one of the most im- 
portant service packs it has ever re- 
leased. And, true to word, it delivers key 
improvements for Internet Explorer, 
Outlook Express, and more. 

As you probably know, IE features 
several security zones, whereby you as- 
sign a certain set of restrictions on sites 
based on the zone it's placed in. Prior to 
SP2, IE assumed that content on your 
local file system was safe and, therefore, 
was assigned to the Local Machine secu- 
rity zone. But due to potential security 
breaches, the new default setting in SP2 
places much greater restrictions on con- 
tent in this zone. In fact, if you attempt 
to look at content in this zone through 
IE, the Information Bar (a new feature in 
SP2) tells you whether it's advisable to 
allow the content. 



14 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



N 



ews, Views & Expert Advice 




Another new feature for IE is the 
Add-On Manager, accessible through 
the Tools menu. It gives you a control 
center for viewing and managing 
add-on features to your browser. 
Sometimes these features are added to 
your IE without your knowledge, but 
with the Add-On Manager, you'll be 
able to detect and disable those you 
don't want. 

One of the most practical new fea- 
tures SP2 gives is the Pop-Up Blocker 
for IE, also accessed through the Tools 
menu. This gives you customizable 
controls for keeping annoying ads from 
popping up on your monitor while 
you're online, yet it allows ads from 
acceptable sites. 

You'll find several changes in 
Outlook Express, too, thanks to SP2. 
One new default mode is HTML 
Content Blocking, which basically 
helps you reduce the amount of spam 
sent to you by preventing the verifica- 
tion of your address to spammers. 
When you unwittingly verify your ad- 
dress to spammers, which can happen 
just by viewing a spam email, you po- 
tentially set yourself up for lots more 
junk mail. 

A second new feature for Outlook 
Express is the Attachment Manager, 
which helps you monitor and safely 
handle potentially damaging files at- 
tached to email messages. 

The new Windows Security Center 
gives you a single place for managing 
many aspects of your system's security, 
including the new Windows Firewall 
that comes with SP2. Previously, this 
was called the Internet Connection 
Firewall, and it was not turned on by 
default. This updated firewall, how- 
ever, is not only enabled by default, 
but it starts working when you boot 
your system and stops only when you 
turn off your system. In addition, it in- 
cludes an exceptions list, a handy tool 
that lets you mark certain ports on 
your system as exempt from the fire- 
wall protection. Why in the world 
would anyone do that? Well, for one, 
gamers who like to play Internet-based 
games that require ports normally 
blocked by Windows Firewall will. You 



also can turn off all of the exceptions 
on this list to work in a high-security 
atmosphere. Furthermore, Windows 
Firewall offers improved support for 
applications that are required to use 
broadcast or multicast connections, 
such as videoconferencing. 

Once SP2 is installed, you can access 
this new Security Center through the 
Control Panel. In addition to helping 
you manage the Windows Firewall, this 
center allows you to control the Auto- 
matic Updates tool and check on the 
status of your antivirus software. 




You can download Windows XP Service Pack 2 
through the Windows Update site or order a free 
installation CD from Microsoft. 

Finally, WinXP SP2 now gives your 
system better support for wireless net- 
works and devices that use the 
Bluetooth wireless technology. 

You do not need to have SP1 in- 
stalled on your WinXP system to install 
SP2. However, Microsoft recommends 
that you have at least 1.8GB free hard 
drive space, a 233MHz processor, and 
64MB RAM. If you prefer, you can 
order an installation CD of SP2, but be 
prepared to wait four to six weeks be- 
fore it arrives. 

You must restart your computer in 
order to let SP2's changes take effect. 

All Versions %$ ■_*! I 

833987 Security Update For Win- 
dows XP (1.4MB). This is primarily 
an update for WinXP users, but we 
have chosen to list it in the All Versions 
category because many users will need 
to download an update depending on 
the applications they've installed on 
their computers. 



A problem exists in the way WinXP 
processes JPEGs (Joint Photographic 
Experts Group files). This flaw causes a 
buffer overrun, which leaves users 
open to the possibility of an attacker re- 
motely executing code on the victim's 
system. The successful attacker would 
gain as many privileges on the system 
as the user has. 

Although this update is critical for 
WinXP users, anyone who has installed 
the following programs should also ob- 
tain the appropriate update(s), regard- 
less of your operating system: Office 
XP SP3, Office 2003, Project 2002 SP1, 
Project 2003, Visio 2002 SP2, Visio 2003, 
Visual Studio .NET 2002 and 2003, 
Picture It! 2002, and Greetings 2002. 
We've listed most, but not all, of the 
affected programs, so check the ac- 
companying Knowledge Base article 
for a complete list. You must down- 
load an update for each of the af- 
fected programs you have installed on 
your system. 

867460 Microsoft .NET Framework 
1.1 Service Pack 1 (10.2MB). Back in the 
March "Windows Update Tracker" we 
told you that Microsoft had released 
version 1.1 of its .NET Framework, a 
technology developed for use with 
XML-based programs. Now, Microsoft 
has released a service pack to correct a 
laundry list of problems in version 1.1. 

The accompanying Knowledge Base 
article outlines the more than 60 bugs 
fixed in .NET Framework 1.1, a number 
of which correct situations that result in 
users receiving error messages. Each of 
these listed flaws also comes with a link 
to the Knowledge Base article that more 
fully describes the individual problem. 

Don't be confused about what to 
download if you're looking through the 
Windows Update Catalog. In addition to 
this service pack, you'll see Service Pack 
2 for .NET Framework, both in English 
and many other languages. This service 
pack, however, is for the original version 
of .NET Framework, not version 1.1. 
Make sure you download the right ser- 
vice pack based on which version of 
.NET Framework you are running, pct 

by Rachel Derowitsch 



PC Today / December 2004 15 




Scot's Take 



Commentary by Scot Finnie 



The Long Road To 
Longhorn 



Sometime in the very 
near future you can ex- 
pect Microsoft's Windows 
Longhorn marketing ma- 
chine to sputter to life and 
begin telling us all why we 
should care about the next 
major Windows version. 

Toward the end of last 
summer, the software giant 
made the decision to scale back 
the ambitious next-generation 
Windows, code-named Longhorn, so 
it could commit to releasing the suc- 
cessor to Windows XP by the fall of 2006. 
The piece that got left behind, WinFS, may not 
sound important, but it was. WinFS was an en- 
abling technology that turned up repeatedly in features 
and functionalities sprinkled throughout the early 
alpha builds of Longhorn released for developers. At 
the Professional Developers Conference back in 
October 2003, Microsoft described WinFS as one of the 
three primary pillars supporting Longhorn's advances. 
So I was a little surprised when the announcement 
was made in late August to pull WinFS out of the 
initial release of Windows Longhorn. On the other 
hand, it also makes good sense because WinFS, which 
will incorporate SQL (Structured Query Language) 
database technology, is an ambitious undertaking all 
by itself. What's more, Microsoft was facing a lot of 
work to connect WinFS to numerous points of the 
user interface and test it in the real world. If there 
was any aspect of Longhorn that looked like it might 
run into trouble in the beta phase, it was WinFS and 
some of the functionality it was to support. 

In addition, Microsoft notes that it received re- 
quests from developers and enterprise customers to 
simultaneously ship WinFS support as part of 
Windows Server, which makes complete sense for 
businesses. That's why the new plan calls for de- 
livering WinFS initially with Windows Longhorn 
Server, which is scheduled for release in 2007. At the 
same time, Microsoft announced a somewhat sketchy 




plan to release some sort 
of WinFS upgrade to the 
desktop version of Windows 
Longhorn. 



The Search-Based Windows 
Interface 

Although we've never seen a full-fledged rendition 
of how this would work and act in Windows, one of 
the user-experience advances of Windows Longhorn is 
described as the "search-based interface." With WinFS, 
the file system would be able to store a much richer set 
of information about file types (such as music, photos, 
video, graphics, and specific document types) and then 
catalog, store, retrieve, and display file objects based 
on a long list of custom attributes specific to each file 
type. So, for example, music files might show bit rate, 
time, artist, album name, genre, etc. You could still 
work with them based on their file name and location 
(as we work now), but you would have a much richer 
set of data associated with each file with which to sort 
and display files. So you could literally open a folder 
and call all files with X and Y attributes from all over 
your hard drive to be displayed in that folder. 

Sound good? Now take it a step further by losing the 
net under your high wire. Instead of working with sets 
of files based on where in the file system they were ac- 
tually stored — within the discrete boundaries of folders 
and subfolders — you could work with them based on 
the results of rapid searches. So, for example, you could 
create, name, and save folders that would always show 
you, say, photos and videos of Brian and Emily or com- 
binations of hundreds of other attributes. The idea 
being that you would eventually stop being concerned 
about where your data is stored and focus more on 
what your data is and how it relates to other data. 

Early versions of Windows Longhorn had just 
enough user-interface hooked up to give testers a 
sense of what this would be like. More advanced fea- 
tures in programs such as Musicmatch Jukebox and 
Apple's iTunes are headed in the same direction. One 
of the most powerful aspects of WinFS that is little 
discussed is that, as originally planned, application 



16 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 




makers 
were going to 
be able to create their 
own custom file types by ex- 
tending or customizing WinFS. This 
obscure-sounding point would have 
given software makers a way to create 
applications that could work with files 
in potentially powerful new ways. 

Without WinFS, though, the rich at- 
tributes I've described are not fully avail- 
able in the file system (although NTFS 
with WinXP does offer some attributes 
for a handful of file types, and that's not 
a hard thing for Microsoft to do). The 
real loss is the SQL-database technology 
that would have allowed rapid queries 
of the file system. At press time, Micro- 
soft's Windows product manager Greg 
Sullivan confirmed that Microsoft in- 
tends to use off-the-shelf, text-indexing 
technology to offer at least some sem- 
blance of the search-based interface in 
Windows Longhorn. But it won't be the 
same. And the question becomes, when 
WinFS does become available as some 
sort of upgrade to Windows Longhorn in 
2007, will a fully fledged search-based 
interface be part of that upgrade? My 
Magic 8 Ball says: "No, wait for the next 
desktop version of Windows." And that 
probably won't be until 2009 or 2010. 

Avalon Still Looks Great 

They say a picture is worth a thousand 
words, but even a picture doesn't do 
Windows Longhorn's new graphics 
subsystem, code-named Avalon, much 
justice. There are several neat aspects of 
Avalon. About half of its advantages are 
important changes in the way application 
makers are able to build imagery in 
Windows. In a nutshell, Microsoft is 
making it easier for artists and designers 
to work in harmony with developers so 
that both accomplish their design goals. 
But there's a lot you'll be able to see with 
your own eyes, too. Avalon should be 
much faster and also render crisper fonts 



and images. For the first time, Windows 
will use a vector-based graphics engine, 
something many of us have been wanting 
for a decade or more. That will give it the 
ability to replace much slower-rendering 
bitmap images that require large files. 
Vector-based imagery is also much easier 
to animate, and it quickly scales to large 
sizes without losing the crispness of its 
edges. Avalon will support lots of other 
graphics enhancements, including trans- 
parency, and together these underpin- 
nings will transform the way Windows 
looks and acts on your computer screen. 

Does that mean that all your existing 
applications will stop working properly? 
No, Avalon is backward-compatible with 
the existing way of rendering images. But 
in order to take advantage of the new ca- 
pabilities, applications will have to be 
rewritten. If Microsoft gets this right, and 
it looks like it will, games in particular 
should improve significantly, but literally 
every application could benefit in its 
post-Longhorn versions. 

Microsoft intends to release a version 
of Avalon for WinXP in 2006. There will 
also be a WinXP version of Longhorn's 
new application-communication sub- 
system, called Indigo, which is an im- 
portant building block for Web services. 
The availability of Avalon for WinXP 
strikes me as something of a double- 
edged sword for Microsoft. It wants to 
jump-start third-party development for 
Avalon by extending its installed base as 
rapidly as possible. But unless there's a 
lot more than currently meets the eye in 
Longhorn that will compel businesses 
and everyday users to buy it, this move 
could hurt Longhorn sales. 

What Else? 

Microsoft's Greg Sullivan stressed that, 
to date, his company has not delineated 
any user benefits for Windows Longhorn 
at all. The software maker's sole intent 
was to get developers up to speed while it 
lavished development horsepower on get- 
ting WinXP Service Pack 2 out the door. 
In other words, Microsoft is switching 



gears back to Longhorn now and it has 
basically lost six to eight months in its ef- 
fort to get Longhorn out the door. 

Although Microsoft is unable to define 
Longhorn's benefits yet, Gates and other 
Microsoft executives have alluded to 
various areas that will be improved, in- 
cluding performance, security, and relia- 
bility. Sullivan directly referred to the 
Administrator login security issue that 
exists in Windows today. Most people 
tend to log into Windows 2000/XP with 
full privileges at all times, something that 
compromises their security. But if you in- 
stall applications or hardware without 
Administrator rights, several other com- 
plex problems can arise. This isn't just a 
Microsoft problem; it requires Windows 
software and hardware makers to wake 
up and all get on the same page about 
how they work with Windows. Sullivan is 
making no promise right now that it will 
solve this problem, but that level of 
problem is the kind of thing Microsoft 
would like Longhorn to address. 

Another significant area of Windows 
where there's room for improvement 
is networking. Peer networking and 
sharing has become progressively more 
complex and heavy-handed and needs 
serious refinement. When you share an 
entire drive on a fully protected home 
network (or one that isn't connected to 
the Internet), that shouldn't mean that, 
sorry, some folders aren't shared. 

What new features, fixes, or improve- 
ments would you like to see in Windows 
Longhorn? Send a message with your 
ideas to me at scot@pctoday.com. 

Though there is little or no detail now 
about what the real-world benefits will 
be, the pulling of WinFS does not signal 
that Longhorn is suddenly a far less im- 
portant version of Windows than it was 
before. The main thrust is clearly aimed 
at core functionality, and there are pro- 
found changes that continue to mark 
Longhorn as an important watershed 
version of the OS. But we'll have to wait 
for the many details still to come before 
the full picture emerges. I 




Windows Warfare 



Commentary by Christian Perry 



Cover Your Tracks & 
Stop Snoops Cold 



Back when I was a nosy 
: 



little kid, nothing was 
more fascinating than my 
dad's desk, what with all the 
cool devices and trinkets he 
stashed away in its drawers. 
Ranging from watches and 
lighters to old coins and 
playing cards, the contents of 
that desk would keep me ex- 
ceptionally busy — at least 
when I could actually sneak into 
my parents 7 room and ransack the 
drawers. On one such expedition, I de- 
cided to determine whether the flame 
from one of said lighters would cause the 
second hand on one of said watches to slow 
from its normal pace. Alas, I never did find out if heat 
would cause a watch's second hand to slow. What I did 
discover, however, was that intense heat can scorch a 
watch's face so severely that you can't even tell if the 
watch has hands at all. 

As I slipped the white-faced watch back into the 
revered desk and retreated to my room to await my 
dad's arrival home from work and my imminent 
doom, it struck me that maybe I shouldn't invade the 
privacy of others. Indeed, as I did eventually receive 
a punishment so severe that any kids within 500 
yards of my house's open windows wondered if I'd 
appear at school the next day, next week, or ever 
again, I learned that it simply doesn't pay to mess 
with other people's stuff. 

Protect Your Privacy 

Unfortunately, it seems that too many people these 
days weren't as fortunate as I was to receive such a 
poignant lesson on privacy. If you want proof of that 
observation, look no further than your computer, 
where co-workers, family, and even friends will snoop 
around for information on your work, leisurely activi- 
ties, finances, and other private information if given 
the chance. This invasion of privacy isn't necessarily 
caused by widespread degradation of human morals 



but rather the fact that it's just too darn easy. If you 
want to know what someone is up to, you need only a 
few mouse clicks to obtain that information, and the 
temptation is far too strong for many people to resist. 

Yet that doesn't mean you have to accept the fact 
that people will rifle through your PC like I rifled 
through my dad's desk drawers. Sure, you could 
password-protect everything, but that's not the most 
convenient route, nor does it appear particularly inno- 
cent to third parties ("What the heck is he hiding on 
that computer?"). If you feel you need to cover your 
computing tracks to prevent snoopers from snooping, 
familiarize yourself with some basic security tech- 
niques that will help to keep your activities private. 
I'll run you through a down-and-dirty laundry list of 
items to clear before you leave your computer. 

Internet. Let's start with your Web browser. 
Internet Explorer typically saves all sorts of informa- 
tion as you surf from site to site so that future visits 
will be speedier. But with today's powerful com- 
puters, the benefit of all that saved information is 
negligible, and if you have privacy concerns, you're 
better off trashing it. In Internet Explorer, click Tools, 
select Internet Options, and choose the Content tab. 
Under Personal Information, click AutoComplete, 




18 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



click Clear Forms, click OK to confirm it, 
and deselect the Web Addresses and 
Forms options if you want to prevent IE 
from saving future AutoComplete infor- 
mation. Click OK. Choose the General 
tab, click Delete Cookies, and click OK 
to confirm the deletion. (This might 
force you to enter information on sites 
that previously saved it, but again, if 
you need to cover your tracks on a reg- 
ular basis, you'll accept the sacrifice.) 
Click Delete Files, select Delete All 
Offline Content in the confirmation box, 
and click OK. Click the Clear History 
button, click OK to confirm it, and re- 
duce the Days To Keep Pages In History 
to (zero). 

YouTl probably notice that using IE's 
Delete Files options typically doesn't 
delete all of your temporary Internet files, 
especially in Windows XP. No problem. 
Log into WinXP using an administrator 
account. (If you don't get that option 
upon startup, quickly press the CTRL- 
ALT-DEL key combination twice when 
you see the Welcome screen to launch the 
Administrator login.) In Windows 
Explorer, navigate to C:\DOCUMENTS 
AND SETTINGS\USERNAME\LOCAL 
SETTINGSXTEMPORARY INTERNET 
FILES, where USERNAME is the account 
where you want to delete the files. Select 
all the files in the right pane, right-click, 
and select Delete. 

If you use Google Toolbar, click the 
Google button and click Clear Search 
History. If you want to prevent the 
toolbar from saving searches, click the 
Google button, click Options from the 
drop-down menu, choose the More tab, 
deselect Save The Search History 
Across Browser Sessions, and click 
Apply and OK. On the Yahoo! toolbar, 
click the Toolbar Settings button (with 
the picture of a little pencil), click Clear 
Recent Search, and deselect Enable 
Recent Searches if you want long-term 
privacy protection. 

Windows. In Windows versions prior 
to WinXP, open C:\WINDOWS\TEMP 
and delete all files containing dates prior 



to the current day. In WinXP, open 
C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS 
\USERNAME\LOCAL SETTINGS 
\TEMP and follow the same procedure. 
Because WinXP tends to spread other 
temporary files throughout the system, 
perform a search for temp files by 
clicking the Desktop and pressing F3. In 
the All Or Part Of The Name search field, 
type *.tmp, and in the Look In field, select 
All Local Drives. Click Search, and when 
Windows returns the results, delete any 
files not containing today's date. (You 
can delete those tomorrow.) 

Speaking of Windows Search, let's 
clear that, too, so that it doesn't automat- 
ically suggest recently searched terms. In 
WinXP, you can create a Registry file that 
will automatically clear all items in the 
search history. Open Notepad and type 
the following three lines in a new file: 

REGEDIT4 

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER 
\ Software \Microsoft\ Search Assistant 
\ACMru\5603] 

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software 
\Microsoft\Search AssistantXACMru 
\5603] 

Save the file on your Desktop as 
Acmru.reg and then double-click the file 
to clear Windows Search. (Click OK and 
OK again in the confirmation boxes.) 
You can keep this file handy to clear the 
data at any time. For previous Windows 
versions, download TweakUI 1.33 from 
www.microsoft.com/ntworkstation 
/downloads/PowerToys/Networking/ 
NTTweakUI.asp. After you install the 
utility, open it and select the Clear Find 
Files History At Logon option listed 
under Paranoia. 

You should also clear your recent doc- 
uments and files that appear on the Start 
Menu in WinXP. Right-click Start, click 
Properties, make sure the radio button 
for Start Menu (not Classic Start Menu) is 
selected, click Customize, and choose the 
Advanced tab. Under Recent Documents, 
click Clear List, and to prevent this list 
from appearing again, deselect List My 



Most Recently Opened Documents. Click 
OK and click OK again. 

Of course, don't forget to empty your 
Recycle Bin. Better yet, configure 
Windows to automatically delete files 
instead of moving them to the Bin — 
you'll find that option in the Recycle Bin 
Properties. 

Office. Microsoft Office applications 
also save your information for easy ac- 
cess, so keep that in mind when you're 
covering your tracks. In each Office ap- 
plication (such as Word, Excel, and 
PowerPoint), click Tools, click Options, 
choose the General tab, and click to des- 
elect the Recently Used File List box. 
Click OK. 

Don't Stop Now 

All of this work involves a certain 
amount of irony. Even if you delete all of 
that data described in the previous steps, 
much of it can still physically reside on 
your hard drive because Windows 
simply removes a reference to each file 
that you delete — not the actual file. 
Using recovery software, someone can 
retrieve the deleted data, and these 
"deleted" files remain on your hard 
drive until another file overwrites them. 
With this in mind, if you're covering 
your tracks on a regular basis, you 
should use erasing software to wipe the 
free space on your hard drives. 

As you conduct activities on your 
computer, keep an eye on tracks you'll 
leave behind. Many programs include 
caching and automatic completion fea- 
tures to boost performance and conve- 
nience, but they also leave your 
information vulnerable. Add these pro- 
grams to your privacy-sweep list so you 
can clear their saved information along 
with that discussed here. 

Although these methods aren't nec- 
essary for everyone at all times, most 
computer users encounter a snoop at 
one time or another, and perhaps the 
most effective way to handle the 
problem is to leave nothing behind in 
the first place. I 



PC Today / December 2004 19 




IT Corner 



Commentary by Serdar Yegulalp 



Things Fall Apart 



Science fiction author 
Stanislaw Lem (Solaris) 
once wrote a brain-bender of a 
novel called "Memoirs Found 
in a Bathtub." The story takes 
place after a blight named 
"papyralysis" has swept the 
globe, destroying everything 
made of paper. Much of the 
book is about how govern- 
ments use misinformation to 
deceive their citizens, but the 
core premise is scarily relevant 
today. What if tomorrow you dis- 
covered that all your thousands of 
photos on CD-Rs, your stacks of DVDs, 
and your memory cards were unreadable? 
Would you panic if I said this was already 
happening? 

Actually, don't panic. It's happening very slowly, 
most of the time slowly enough that it isn't hard to 
migrate what we might lose onto newer media. But 
what's frightening is how fast some of that newer 
media disintegrates under everyday conditions. 




Media life is now one of the most pressing and ur- 
gent issues in a society where more and more we store 
our information digitally in formats that are surpris- 
ingly fragile to time and the elements. We keep our 
photos on CDs, our work files on keychain USB (Uni- 
versal Serial Bus) drives, and our home movies on 
DVD-Rs, but all of these things have a lifetime that 
can often be measured in months and years, not de- 
cades and centuries. A company that can't read its 
own financial records from less than 10 years ago is in 
deep trouble. Or consider a group of family members 
trying to assemble a 30th anniversary photo album 
only to find they've traded up fading Polaroids for 
unreadable CD-Rs. Not an improvement. 

Bit Rot 

The more information we store in a given space, it 
seems, the more likely that information is to simply 
rot away. Call it the inverse-square law of media. A 
chiseled clay tablet from Babylonia could last thou- 
sands of years, but it couldn't hold more than a few 
hundred characters at most. A DVD can store several 
gigabytes, but it may not last more than a decade or 
two depending on which experts you talk to. The 
bad news is that the trend has always been toward 
storing more data in less space, which, if this law 
holds true, means each successive generation of 
media will be that much less hardy. "Digital" is not a 
synonym for "invulnerable." 

Recordable CDs and DVDs, two of the most pop- 
ular formats for storing stuff offline, are particularly 
susceptible to decay. These discs use a dye that's sen- 
sitive to the laser beam of a CD /DVD recorder, sand- 
wiched between two pieces of polycarbonate plastic 
to keep it safe. Unfortunately, this dye is also sensi- 
tive over time to even mild changes in temperature 
and atmosphere; the plastic layer isn't wholly imper- 
meable. Hence that directive, "Keep out of direct sun- 
light," which essentially means leave a CD-R to bake 
on your car's dashboard for a month and your cus- 
tom music mix will curdle into digital slurry. (Many 
companies warehouse their digital and analog 
records in old salt mines. Cooler and drier places are 
hard to come by naturally.) Even worse, the dye layer 



20 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



may simply break down over time all by 
itself, even under the best conditions. 
Experts call this sort of decay bit rot. 

Manufactured CDs and DVDs aren't 
immune to decay either. European CD 
maker PDO (Philips and DuPont Op- 
tical) discovered to its horror that tens of 
thousands of CDs it had pressed in the 
early 1990s were disintegrating. The 
discs contained a lacquer that was per- 
meable to sulfur in the paper booklets 
packaged with the discs. Over time the 
sulfur evaporated into the discs, cor- 
roded the information layer, turned the 
discs a golden-bronze color, and left 
them unplayable. PDO was forced to re- 
place all the affected discs at its own ex- 
pense. Early pressings of dual-layer 
(9GB) DVDs went to seed after the fail- 
ure of the adhesive used to hold the 
disc's layers together. 

In these cases, only long-term, real- 
world conditions — not simulated lab 
tests — would be the way to know how 
long such media would survive. And 
real-world conditions are the only condi- 
tions we can really count on over time. 

What about solid-state memory media 
such as SD (Secure Digital) cards, Flash 
memory, or USB keychain drives? Those 
handy little gizmos are great at shuttling 
data around quickly and easily, and they 
are shaping up to be the floppy diskette 
killer that we all hoped we'd see at some 
point. Don't count on them for long-term 
storage, though. The data retention time 
for one of these devices is only around 10 
years. These devices are also vulnerable 
to another one of those everyday envi- 
ronmental hazards that can kill computer 
equipment: static electric discharge. 
(When was the last time you shocked 
yourself on a doorknob?) 

This brings up another question: 
What do you do decades down the line 
with a chip when you have no written 
instructions on how to access the thing? 

The Domesday Scenario 

In 1986, the British government 
wanted to create a digital version of the 



legendary "Domesday Book." The orig- 
inal "Domesday Book," compiled in 
1086, is one of Britain's national trea- 
sures — a kind of snapshot of all of En- 
gland's territories and resources at that 
moment in time. For the digital version, 
the BBC (British Broadcasting Corp.) 
Domesday Project (a partnership be- 
tween Acorn, Logica, Philips, and the 
BBC) settled on 12-inch LaserVision laser 
discs as the storage medium, controlled 
through the then-popular Acorn com- 
puter. The creators of the project were 
certain they'd be able to read everything 
after a century or more. 

By 2003, they'd been proven wrong. 
Cruelly so. None of the technology 
used to compile the Digital Domesday 
Project was being sold or supported, 
nor was it commonly used anymore. 
The laser disc is already fast slipping 
into obscurity, elbowed out by the ver- 
satile DVD format, and the Acorn com- 
puter is all but a museum piece. 
Fortunately, software engineers at 
Leeds University and the University of 
Michigan managed to bring the 
Domesday Project back from the grave 
by writing an emulation system for the 
extinct hardware. 

That was after a mere 15 years. The 
original "Domesday Book," printed on 
good old paper, is still readable after al- 
most a millennium. If someone a thou- 
sand years from now were to stumble 
across the digital version of the "Domes- 
day Book," they wouldn't be able to read 
it ... or even know what it was. 

Entropy Leads The Race 

The media-entropy problem reaches 
far and wide. Movie studios are con- 
verting the decaying negatives of their 
film libraries to 4,000-line digital trans- 
fers, but the digital copies themselves will 
still be susceptible to decay if they're not 
retransferred over time. (There's no word 
on how or even if they plan to do this, ei- 
ther.) The same goes for music: The irre- 
placeable analog master tapes of albums 
such as Wendy Carlos' "Switched-on 



Bach" are slowly turning into slimy sushi 
rolls of glue and iron oxide. You can bake 
(literally, as in bake in an oven) those 
tapes to make them playable in order to 
transfer them to digital, but how long 
before the 24-bit 96KHz transfer itself be- 
gins to fall apart, too? 

And not long ago, scientists discov- 
ered a variety of fungus that thrives on 
and destroys the very plastic used to 
seal CDs and DVDs. Maybe the threat of 
"papyralysis" isn't so far-fetched. 

That said, there are things you can 
do to keep your own files from the rav- 
ages of data-rot. 

First, don't jump on the bandwagon 
of every shiny new information storage 
technology that comes out. Formats 
come and go. CD and DVD are probably 
going to be with us for a long time, so 
stick with what you know. Avoid pro- 
prietary and ROM-style formats for 
long-term storage; Iomega's notoriously 
fault-prone Zip disks and Sony's Mem- 
ory Stick come to mind. If you're con- 
sidering tape for mass backups, the 
professional DLT (Digital Linear Tape) 
format is the best way to go, although 
it's not cheap. Drives can run $1,000 and 
the tapes as much as $100 apiece. 

Second, don't buy cut-rate media. 
Store-brand blank discs are almost 
always from the bottom of the barrel. Go 
with name brands such as Memorex or 
Taiyo Yuden, a company that makes 
quality discs specifically for the mass-du- 
plication market. The CD Information 
Center Web site (www.cd-info.com) has 
many resources for learning what brands 
of CD media and drives have the best 
longevity and the lowest error and 
failure rates. 

Third, migrate and verify. Go through 
your media every year or two and copy 
everything to fresh discs. Anything im- 
portant enough to be warehoused is 
important enough to be periodically 
moved into a new warehouse. 

Finally, do what the packing tells you 
and keep everything in a cool, dry place. 
Maybe a salt mine. I 



PC Today / December 2004 21 




Roadside Assistance 



Commentary by Dave Methvin 



Traveler's Advisory 



ology officer of PC 
,« ,^p, a free site that 
automatically diagnoses 
md fixes common PC 
uoblems. Contact Dave a 
lave@pctoday.com 



Last month, I showed 
you how to build a 
toolkit that can help you or 
your friends fix computer 
emergencies caused by 
viruses and spyware. Still, 
"prepare beats repair" every 
time. How do PCs get spy- 
ware and viruses in the first 
place, and how can you avoid 
being hit? A lot of it comes down 
to where you go — and who you 
trust — on the Internet. This month, Til 
uncover some of the tactics and tech- 
niques that the bad guys use to take over PCs 
and give you some tips on how to avoid be- 
coming their next victim. 

Unpatched? Unprotected! 

One of the most important ways to prevent 
spyware and viruses is to keep your system up-to- 
date with security patches. This 
applies no matter what version 
of Windows you are using. 
Without a fully patched system, 
attackers can break into your 
system as soon as you connect 
to the Internet. Users affected by 
last year's MSBlast virus some- 
times found out they couldn't 
stay on the Internet long enough 
to download the patch. Win- 
dows XP users should be run- 
ning Service Pack 2 by now, no 
excuses accepted. Awhile back, 
Microsoft offered a security up- 
date CD that you could use to 
patch all versions of Windows. 
It was discontinued about the 
same time that WinXP SP2 
came out; if a new version 
arrives, Microsoft will most 



likely announce it on their security page (www 
.microsoft.com / athome / security) . 

Don't forget to update your applications, as well. 
For example, WinAmp 5.04 and earlier have a secu- 
rity hole that lets anyone run code on your system. 
All they have to do is get you to click a link, an 
email message, or Web page. This is also why I rec- 
ommend keeping your system clear of programs 
you don't use. If you don't use it, uninstall it; if you 
do use it, keep it patched. Or else 

Search Engine Spamming 

Search engines such as Google have changed the 
way people look up information, whether it's pro- 
found knowledge or interesting trivia. Remember, 
though, that a listing in Google does not imply that 
the site is safe. Google doesn't give a lot of informa- 
tion about its page rating system, called PageRank, 
but they do say that it is affected by how many 
other sites link to the page. Savvy Web site opera- 
tors know this and have figured out how to increase 




22 December 2004 / www.pctoday.c 



their ranking to get more traffic. 
There's nothing unethical about that, 
unless your goal is to trick people. 
That's exactly what some of the spy- 
ware-fueled sites are trying to do. 

One hotbed of trickery that I've seen 
is lyrics search sites. To see what I mean, 
go to Google and type in a few words 
from the lyrics of a pop song, such as 
Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time/' 
and then add the word "lyrics." On the 
first page, you'll see dozens of sites with 
the word "lyrics" in their domain name. 
Many, if not most, are loaded with var- 
ious spyware programs offered as either 
drive-by downloads or through pop-up 
advertisements. To increase their search 
rank, most of these sites link to each 
other. Be very careful if you visit these 
sites; use plenty of protection, including 
a pop-up blocker and spyware protec- 
tion such as SpywareBlaster (www.java 
cool.com). In the ultimate irony, many of 
these spyware-laden sites have ads for 
ineffective spyware protection; steer 
clear of those products. 

Peer-To-Peer Pandemonium 

The promise of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) net- 
works, such as Kazaa, LimeWire, and 
BitTorrent, is that you can share free soft- 
ware, music, and movies with people all 
over the world. Ignoring for the moment 
the legal issues of what's being traded, the 
most serious threat to your PC is that 
many of the files available on P2P net- 
works are loaded with spyware and 
viruses. Even many of the P2P clients 
themselves are bundled with adware and 
spyware, dooming your system to eter- 
nally sub par performance before you've 
even connected to get your first file. 

The best thing to do is steer clear of 
most of these P2P networks; most of what 
they offer isn't legal, even if it's really 
what it claims to be. If you still want to 
use P2P, exercise common sense about 
what you download, especially when it 
comes to executable files. For example, a 
50KB file that says it's a full graphics- 
editing suite cannot possibly be what it 



Utility Of The Month: Known Programs 



Have you noticed a program running on your system, but you don't know 
what it does or whether it's safe? PC Pitstop has added a feature that lets you 
look up any program name in our database; access it at www.pcpitstop.com/spy 
check/known.asp. There are several similar sites on the Internet, but this database 
adds a couple of useful twists. It tells you how often that file has been seen in the 
systems tested at PC Pitstop in the past week, and it also tells you if systems run- 
ning that program have high CPU load. For example, in a recent week the file 
Gmt.exe (part of Claria/GAIN adware) was seen on 1.85% of systems tested, and 
systems running that program had a high average CPU load. You can also browse 
the complete database, and entries are color-coded by their danger level. I 



claims. Don't trust your antivirus or anti- 
spyware software to save you from these 
scams. There are new threats emerging 
every day, and they can't possibly keep 
up with the bad guys. 

Games Gone Wayward 

Wherever people try to have fun on 
the Internet, there seem to be spyware 
makers out to spoil the fun. Sometimes 
the trouble comes in the form of a drive- 
by download or ad on the game site it- 
self, similar to the tricks played by lyrics 
sites. Other times, the game itself is the 
trick. Yes, it may let you play a card 
game, but it may also monitor your 
Internet activity or pop up unwanted 
advertising at the same time. 

Two disturbing trends are com- 
bining here, and I don't think it is a co- 
incidence. First is that spyware and 
adware depends on license terms that 
are often downplayed or just plain 
hidden: It's difficult for users to see 
what they're getting into before they 
install the software. Second is that 
these downloads are being offered on 
sites that would appear to cater to a 
younger crowd; many of the visitors to 
these sites are probably under 18 years 
old. So a typical victim is likely to be 
a teen downloading files on Kazaa, 
searching for free games or looking for 
song lyrics. Yet spyware makers con- 
tinue to insist that these kids have en- 
tered into a legal agreement by clicking 
OK on a dialog box? Give me a break! 



The Human Torch . . . Urn, 
Touch 

There's an old saying "To err is 
human, but to really foul things up takes 
a computer." In defense of the dumb old 
computer, I'll point out that most com- 
puter attacks require a human to coop- 
erate by installing or running a file, or at 
least by clicking something. Usually 
there's a pretty convincing story that 
gets you to run the file, and this is what 
the attackers call social engineering. 
They exploit your trust that an email 
comes from a person or company you 
know, or that you want something 
enough to install some software that is 
supposed to help. Even if you have layer 
upon layer of protection installed, you 
are the last line of defense for your com- 
puter; one bad click on a dialog box can 
burn through all those protective layers 
and render them useless. 

Another common theme to these prob- 
lems is that they are often the result of 
someone trying to get something for 
nothing. While there are genuinely free 
products and services to be had on the 
Internet, you should always check out a 
free offer closely to see what unwanted 
things might come along with the deal. 
Spyware and adware are notorious for 
having license agreements that give them 
the right to basically control your PC and 
send back detailed information about 
what you do, so read the license and think 
twice before agreeing to any of them. I 



PC Today / December 2004 23 




This Old Desktop 



Commentary by Alfred Poor 



windows 3. x/%/yo, or iryc 
have a favorite tip, utility, o> 



Alfred at alfred@pctoday.com. 

Due to the volume of mail that 
he receives, he can't promise 
to answer all messages, but he 



Get Back 
To The Batch 



As Ralph Waldo Emerson 
pointed out, 'The incessant 
repetition of the same hand- 
work dwarfs the man/' He 
never saw a computer, but 
he'd certainly recognize the 
tedium faced by most com- 
puter users who repeat the 
same commands day in and 
day out. The good news is 
that help is as close as your 
Windows Notepad, though too few 
users know how to put it to work to 
automate repetitive tasks. 
The solution is in the DOS world that 
lies hidden just below the visual ve- 
neer of the Windows operating 
system. In the days before Win- 
dows, users had to type in com- 
mands at the DOS prompt, 
changing to different disk 
drives and directories, is- 
suing housekeeping com- 
mands, getting information 
about files, and executing 
programs. And more experi- 
enced users learned that 
when they had to do the same 
task over and over, they could 
string the commands they needed 
into a simple batch file that could be 
run in one step. 

Cook Up A Batch 

A batch file is simply a text file that has one DOS 
command per line. You can use any command, such as 
DIR or COPY, or any executable program on a line. 
You can string these commands together so that you 
can execute them in sequence by launching the batch 
file. And you can create a Windows shortcut for any 
batch file so that you can launch it simply by double- 
clicking it. We'll get to that in a minute, but first, let's 




cover a couple helpful commands you might not have 
encountered in DOS. 

The first is REM, and when you start a line in a 
batch file with that command, nothing happens. 
REM statements are ignored by the computer and 
instead contain information for you, the user. That 
may seem a bit pointless, but, in fact, it's quite 
useful for labeling the batch file. You might write 
"REM This is my first batch file" at the start so you 
can identify it later on. 

The other command is ECHO OFF, which prevents 
the commands from being displayed as they are exe- 
cuted. This helps unclutter the screen as the batch file 
runs, and you only see the messages that might be 
generated as a command runs. 

Let's start with an easy batch file that 
can do something useful. Say you have 
a directory named REPORTS on 
your C: drive, and your word 
processor is set to create 
backup files with the file ex- 
tension .WBK for all docu- 
ments as you edit them. Let's 
say you want to delete them 
all at the end of every week. 
You could open File Manager 
in Windows 3.x or Windows 
Explorer in Windows 95, navi- 
gate to that directory, sort the 
files by the extension, select all the 
files with the .WBK extension, and 
then delete them. But that's a lot of mouse 
clicks. Try a batch file instead. 

Open Notepad and type the following text, 
pressing ENTER after each line: 
REM Batch File to Delete Backup Files from C:\ 

REPORTS 
REM From This Old Desktop, December 2004 
ECHO OFF 
C: 

CD \REPORTS 
DEL *.WBK 



24 December 2004 / www.pctoday.c 



Now save the file as Delwbk.bat (or 
whatever you want to call it). Save it in a 
convenient location that you can find 
easily; you might want to create a direc- 
tory named C:\BATCH that you can use 
to store all your batch files. 

The batch file works by issuing a se- 
quence of commands. The first two REM 
lines are ignored. Then the C: command 
forces the focus to the C: drive. The CD 
\REPORTS line changes to the REPORTS 
directory on the C: drive. (Note that this 
assumes that the REPORTS directory is 
located off the root directory; be sure to 
include the full path here, starting with 
the backslash, if your target directory is a 
subdirectory.) Finally, the DEL *.WBK 
does the dirty work and deletes all files 
with a .WBK extension in that directory. 

A Double-Click Solution 

Next, create a shortcut for the file. In 
Win3.x, you first need to open a program 
group in Program Manager. You can 
use one of the existing ones, such as 
Accessories, or you can create a new one 
such as Batch Files by choosing File and 
New, clicking the radio button next to 
Program Group, and then clicking OK. 
Name the group Batch Files and click OK. 

Then create the shortcut for the 
batch file by choosing File, New, and 
then Program Item. Provide a descrip- 
tion and the path and name of the 
batch file and click OK, and you're all 
set. You can also assign a shortcut key- 
stroke if you want, and you can change 
the icon that will appear with the 
shortcut in the program group. 

The process is even easier with Win95. 
To create a new shortcut on the Windows 
Desktop, just right-click an open space, 
choose New, and then select Shortcut. A 
wizard will open that will prompt you for 
the name of the program to run. You can 
type the path and file name of the batch 
file, or you can use the Browse button to 
find it using Windows Explorer. 

Next, you can change the name that 
will appear with the shortcut. Finally, 
the wizard will present you with a 



selection of icons that you can use with 
your new shortcut. 

No matter how you create it, you 
can now just double-click the new 
shortcut to execute the batch file. 

This is a good start, but let's take it 
one step further. How about automati- 
cally copying your report documents 
(assuming that they have .DOC exten- 
sions) to an ARCHIVE directory on your 
D: drive, creating a file that lists the 
names of the files stored in that direc- 
tory, and then deleting those WBK files? 
Here is how you do it: 
REM Batch File to Copy Reports and 

Delete Backup Files from 

C:\REPORTS 
REM From This Old Desktop, 

December 2004 
ECHO OFF 
C: 

CD \REPORTS 
COPY *.DOC D:\ARCHIVE 
DIR D:\ARCHIVE > D:\ARCHIVE\ 

FILELIST.TXT 
DEL *.WBK 

There you go; create a shortcut on 
your Desktop for this new batch file, and 
you can do a lot of housecleaning with 
just a double-click. This is actually just 
the tip of the iceberg in terms of what 
batch files can do. DOS actually has 
some programming commands that you 
can use, so you can create IF/THEN 
logic loops and other tricks of the coding 
trade. You can build some very sophisti- 
cated batch files that can automate all 
sorts of complex tasks, making it easier 
to keep your system clean and running 
smoothly without being dwarfed by the 
repetition. I'm sure that Ralph Waldo 
Emerson would approve. 

(If you'd like more information about 
using batch files with Windows, shoot 
me an email, and I'll go into more depth 
in a future column.) 

See Inside With MSD 

Have you ever wondered just what 
you have installed inside your PC? 



Have you ever wanted to check some 
configuration detail without going 
through the hassle of opening the case? 
Well, DOS 6.2 includes a utility that 
gives you X-ray vision: Microsoft Diag- 
nostics, or Msd.exe. 

Msd.exe is a simple program that 
identifies many of the installed compo- 
nents within your system. And you can 
run it from within Win3.x, as well. 
Simply use File Manager to locate the 
program — it's probably in the DOS di- 
rectory — and then double-click it. 

After pressing ENTER at a welcome 
screen, you can open any of the 14 dif- 
ferent categories for more detail. The 
program will report what type of con- 
troller chip is used by your serial ports, 
so you can find out if you have a UART 
(universal asynchronous receiver-trans- 
mitter) that can handle high-speed com- 
munications. Or you can check the IRQ 
(interrupt request line) assignments to 
see which ones are available — if any — 
for a new piece of hardware. 

Win3.x Loses Pennies 

If your New Year's resolution is 
to keep better track of your finances, 
you may not want to use the Calculator 
in Win3.x because sometimes it gets a 
bit creative in its answers. For example, 
if you subtract 12.122 from 12.123, 
you'd expect to get 0.001 as the answer. 
You may get something other than 
what you expect, however, such as 
0.0009999999999994, which is almost 
the same answer but not quite. If you 
subtract 12.51 from 12.52, you may get 
0.00 as the answer, and you could lose 
a penny in the process. 

The problem stems from rounding er- 
rors in the original Calculator utility. 
Microsoft identified the problem and 
made an updated version available. You 
still can download it for free from the 
Microsoft Help And Support Web site at 
www.support.microsoft.com/default 
.aspx?scid=kb;[LN];Q124345, where 
you'll also find instructions on how to 
install the replacement utility. I 



PC Today / December 2004 25 




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Install, Run & Uninstall Software 



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If you feel less than confident 
about installing and uninstalling 
software, now is the time to boost 
your confidence. Windows helps 
make these tasks relatively easy, 
but it doesn't explain everything 
you need to know. This article fills 
in the blanks so you can success- 
fully install software from a CD, 
download and install software 
from the Internet, make older pro- 
grams work in Windows XP, 
remove programs from your com- 
puter, and more. The information 
provided applies to Windows 
9x/Me/2000/XP unless otherwise noted. 
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, 
there are some important facts about user 
accounts that you should know if you're 
using WinXP. 



User Accounts & WinXP 

WinXP lets you create multiple user 
accounts. When you create a new user ac- 
count, you must designate it as an admin- 
istrator (an account that can install 
software and make system changes) or a 
limited user (an account that can run pro- 
grams but usually cannot install them or 
make system changes). 

When you install or uninstall soft- 
ware on a WinXP computer, you should 

26 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



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The Windows Add/Remove Programs feature lets you 
install programs from a CD or floppy diskette. You can also 
use it to add Windows components and update Windows. 



log in as an administrator. If you have 
only one user account, it is an adminis- 
trator by definition. If your system has 
multiple user accounts, you need to de- 
termine which ones are administrators. 
To do this, open the Start menu, click 
Control Panel, and double-click User 
Accounts. (For the purpose of this ar- 
ticle, we will be working in WinXP's 
Classic View. If you do not see these op- 
tions, then you are in Category View. 
Access WinXP's Control Panel and 
switch to Classic View.) You should also 
log off all other users if your system has 
multiple accounts. To log off a user ac- 
count, log in the user, close all programs, 
click Start, and click Log Off. 



How do I install software 
from a CD? 

If it's available you should refer 
to the product documentation for 
installation instructions. In addi- 
tion, the following steps provide 
helpful information to supplement 
the documentation, and you can 
use them as a guide if you do not 
have documentation. 
1. To begin, close all open pro- 
grams and disable your an- 
tivirus software. (Be sure to 
re-enable antivirus software 
immediately after installation.) 
If you are running WinXP, log off all 
other users and log in as an adminis- 
trator as described previously. 
Insert the CD. 

Due to a Windows feature called 
AutoRun (a special file on the CD that 
Windows can read automatically), 
most installations start automatically 
after Windows reads the CD. 
If the installation does not begin auto- 
matically, use the Control Panel's 
Add/Remove Programs feature. To 
start the installation with this feature, 
follow the steps according to your 
version of Windows: 
Win9x/Me: Click Start, select Settings, 
click Control Panel, and double-click 






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If you use Windows XP and are having difficulty 
installing an older program from a CD, try using 
the Program Compatibility Wizard. 



Add/Remove Programs. Select the 
Install/Uninstall tab and click the 
Install button. 

• Win2000: Click Start, select Settings, 
click Control Panel, and double-click 
Add/Remove Programs. Click Add 
New Programs in the left pane and 
click the CD Or Floppy button. 

• WinXP: Click Start, select Control 
Panel, and double-click Add Or 
Remove Programs. Click Add New 
Programs in the left pane and click 
the CD Or Floppy button. 

6. After installation begins, follow the on- 
screen instructions and respond to the 
prompts that display. In most cases it's 
best to accept the defaults that the in- 
stallation program gives. 

As the installation completes, you may 
see prompts to automatically restart your 
computer, register the software online, 
automatically start the software, or auto- 
matically load a Read Me file (a file that 
includes important notes from the manu- 
facturer about the software). Again, it's 
usually best to accept the default options. 
If the installation program does not auto- 
matically start your new software, start it 
on your own to make sure the installation 
was successful. 

How do I download programs 
from the Internet? 

Before downloading software from the 
Internet, you should know your system's 
Windows version, total memory, and 
type of processor. This helps you avoid 



downloading and installing soft- 
ware that won't work on your PC. 

To locate system information, 
right-click My Computer and click 
Properties. You may also need to 
know how much space is available 
on your computer's hard drive 
(the main storage area for your 
computer; this is the C: drive on 
most computers). To find this in- 
formation, double-click My Com- 
puter, right-click the C: drive, and 
click Properties. 

To reduce the risk of down- 
loading software that contains 
harmful programs, such as spy- 
ware (programs that track and re- 
port your online activity without your 
knowledge), adware (programs that track 
your Web movements and display adver- 
tisements), or a virus, you should obtain 
software from a reliable source. There are 
numerous independent download Web 
sites that include ratings, user comments, 
and testing information. Two popular 
sites are Download.com (www.download 
.com) and Tucows (www.tucows.com). 



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malicious code. 



Save 



ays ask before opening this type of file 



When you download a program from 
the Internet, it's always best to save it to 
your hard drive. If you choose to open it 
instead, you may infect your system with 



Download.com and Tucows offer a 
large collection of downloadable soft- 
ware. Typically, download sites such as 
these offer shareware (software that is 
free to try and generally less than $50 to 
buy) and, although less common, free- 
ware (software that is free for noncom- 
mercial use). 

After locating the software you're in- 
terested in, follow these steps to down- 
load the software: 





1. Download.com and Tucows display 
system requirements, type of license, 
and the amount of time it takes to 
download the file. Review this infor- 
mation before you begin the download. 

2. The download Web site should pro- 
vide a link (Download Now or Click 
Here To Download, for example) to 
begin the download. Click the link to 
begin downloading the program. 

3. A prompt may display for you to select 
a download source site. Select the site 
that's closest to you geographically. 

4. Depending on the version of IE and 
Windows you're using, you should see 
a File Download or similar dialog box. 
The dialog box prompts you to open 
the file or save it. Select the Save option 
to display the Save As dialog box. 

5. To keep the program's installation files 
in one location, it's best to create a 
folder for the download file. In the 
Save As dialog box, navigate to where 
you want to create the folder on your 
system, place your cursor in an empty 
area in the right pane, right-click, point 
to New, and click Folder. Type a name 
for the folder and press ENTER; make 
sure you note its name and location so 
you can find it upon completion of the 
download. Select the new folder and 
click Save to continue. 

6. IE displays a Progress dialog box with 
a bar that indicates the time remaining 
and download status. Don't rely on 
this window for accurate progress in- 
formation, however, because it's usu- 
ally imprecise. 

7. Depending on your browser settings, 
the File Download dialog box may or 
may not display after the download is 
complete. If it does, close it. 

To install the software using the 
download file: 

1. First check the file for viruses. Many 
antivirus programs do this automati- 
cally during the download process. If 
yours does not, or if you're not sure, 
open your antivirus program and 
follow its instructions to scan the file 
for viruses. 

2. Close all open programs and, if you are 
running WinXP, log in as an adminis- 
trator as we previously described. 



PC Today / December 2004 27 







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3. Open Windows Explorer or My Com- 
puter and navigate to the folder you 
created during the download process. 

4. Locate the download file. It is nor- 
mally an EXE (executable or applica- 
tion) file or a ZIP (compressed) file. 
Double-click the download file. 

5. One of three things will occur: The in- 
stallation starts immediately, the file 
begins an extraction process, or an 
error message displays stating that 
Windows is unable to open the file. 

• If the installation begins immediately, 
follow the on-screen prompts to in- 
stall the software. 

• If a prompt to extract or uncompress 
files to a folder displays, note the folder 
name and location. When the file ex- 
traction completes, navigate to this 
folder and look for an Install.exe or 
Setup.exe file. Double-click the file to 
begin the installation process. 

• If Windows is unable to open the file, 
it is most likely a ZIP file and your 
computer cannot decompress it. 
WinXP/Me handle ZIP files without 
additional software, but Win9x/2000 
do not. You must install a third-party 
utility, such as WinZip ($29; www 
.winzip.com) or CuteZIP ($19.99; 
www.globalscape.com). After in- 
stalling the utility, use it to decom- 
press the file. 

I just installed a program, but I 
don't see an icon on the 
Desktop. How do I start it? 

For Win9x/Me/2000, click Start and 
point to Programs. Windows usually lists 
programs according to their title or manu- 
facturer name, and it may place a new 
program at the end of the list. In addition, 
you may need to point to program folders 
and subfolders to reveal their contents 
and locate the new program. When you 
see the name of the program, click the 
name to start it. 

In WinXP, click Start and point to All 
Programs. WinXP automatically high- 
lights the newly installed program. 

If you cannot locate the new software, 
try right-clicking any item in the Pro- 
grams (All Programs for WinXP) list and 
clicking the Sort By Name option to place 
the list in alphabetical order. 



28 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



How do I remove a program 
from my computer? 

One method is to use an uninstall 
wizard the software maker provides. You 
can also use the Add /Remove programs 
feature in Windows. If you have your 
software documentation, refer to it for 
specific uninstallation instructions. Or 
you can try the following: 
1. Before removing a program, restart 
your computer. This ensures that all 
programs are closed. After your 
system restarts, log in as an adminis- 
trator if you're using WinXP. 



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If you don't want Windows XP to 
highlight newly installed programs, you 
can disable this feature. Right-click Start, 
select Properties, click the Advanced 
tab, and deselect the Highlight Newly 
Installed Programs checkbox. 



2. Click Start, Programs (All Programs in 
WinXP), and point to the program 
group for the item you want to remove. 

3. Look for an Uninstall or Remove op- 
tion and click it to begin the program's 
Uninstall Wizard. 

4. If you do not find an Uninstall or 
Remove option in the program group, 
you can use the Windows Add/ 
Remove Programs feature. To do this, 
refer to the instructions for your ver- 
sion of Windows: 

• Win9x/Me: Click Start, select Settings 
and Control Panel, and double-click 
Add /Remove Programs. On the Add/ 
Remove Programs Properties dialog 
box, click the Install/Uninstall tab. The 
lower half of the dialog box displays 
the programs Win9x/Me can uninstall 



automatically. Select the program you 
want to uninstall and click the Add/ 
Remove button. Follow the on-screen 
instructions to remove the program. 

• Win2000/WinXP: Open the Start 
menu. Win2000 users will select Set- 
tings and Control Panel and then 
double-click Add /Remove Programs. 
WinXP users will click Control Panel 
and double-click Add Or Remove 
Programs. Click Change Or Remove 
Programs in the left pane. Select the 
program you want to remove in the 
right pane and click the Change/ 
Remove button. Follow the on-screen 
instructions to remove the program. 

5. During the uninstallation process, 
Windows may prompt you to remove 
a file or files that it shares with other 
applications. To be sure that you don't 
negatively affect another program, 
click No. 

After you remove the software, short- 
cuts may remain on your Desktop and in 
the Start menu. To remove a shortcut on 
your Desktop, right-click the shortcut and 
click Delete. For a shortcut that remains 
on your Start menu in Win95, right-click 
Start and click Explore. Double-click 
Programs, right-click the item you wish to 
remove, and click Delete. In all other 
Windows versions, click Start, Programs 
(All Programs for WinXP), right-click the 
shortcut, and click Delete. 

If you used the program you removed 
to create data files or documents, unin- 
stalling the software may or may not 
delete them. To check this, double-click 
My Computer and browse for a program 
or folder related to the software you re- 
moved. If you locate files or documents 
that you want to remove, click to select 
them and press the DELETE key. 

Cool & Confident 

Who said ignorance was bliss? Feeling 
unsure about how to install or remove a 
program is certainly not blissful for most 
of us. The next time you need to install or 
uninstall software, review the information 
in this article so you can proceed coolly 
and confidently, pct 

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Start-To-Finish 




How To Reinstall Windows 



If you talk to experienced comput- 
er users, you may find that at least 
once every year or two, they take the 
time to clear off their computer hard 
drive and reinstall Windows. Certainly 
it's not something they look forward to 
doing, but it is a fact that, over time, 
Windows tends to become less stable, 
more sluggish, and more prone to error 
messages and corruption as it accumu- 
lates system and application clutter. 
And if you add in malicious virus in- 
fections and hard drive failures, you 
begin building a pretty compelling list 
of reasons that may force you to 
start from scratch and reinstall your 
operating system. 

Keep in mind that not every lock- 
up or error message means you need 
to reinstall Windows. In fact, it's 
amazing how many computer prob- 
lems you can solve by simply shutting 
down and restarting your PC. But at 
some point, problems and corrup- 
tion may become more persistent, 
and you'll be forced to consider a 
Windows reinstall. Generally, you 
have two options for reinstalling 
Windows. With a repair or refresh 
install, you reinstall the operating 
system from your CD over the top of 
your old version, which preserves your 
current settings, programs, and data. 
This is useful when Windows is suf- 
fering from consistent error messages, 
but it does little to help a computer that's 
suffering from a problem virus infection 
or running sluggishly because of system 



30 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



clutter. That's where a clean reinstall 
comes in. 

With a clean reinstall, you back up all 
your data, repartition and format your 
hard drive, and install Windows from 
scratch. You then reinstall all your appli- 
cations and restore your data. A clean 
reinstall is a daunting undertaking that 
you shouldn't take lightly, but if you're 
careful and follow a well laid-out plan, 
having a fresh install can breathe new 
life into your computer. To make the 
prospect of doing this a bit more toler- 
able, let's take a look at what it takes to 



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The BeIarc Advisor is a free utility that builds a 
detailed profile of your computer and helps you 
document your system before you perform a 
Windows reinstall. 



clear off your hard drive and perform a 
clean install of Windows. 

Prepare For A Clean Install 

Good preparation is a key factor in 
successfully reinstalling Windows. You 
should start by setting aside a few days 




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when having access to your computer 
is not critical. The process doesn't take 
days, but by the time you reinstall all 
your applications, more than a day 
might be involved. 

Document your existing system. 
First, take good notes on your ex- 
isting system and application set- 
tings. This includes all your network 
settings and your ISP connection in- 
formation, including IP (Internet 
Protocol) address; DNS (Domain 
Name Server) address; and POP (Post 
Office Protocol) and SMTP (Simple 
Mail Transfer Protocol) addresses, 
usernames, and passwords. A great 
way to document information about 
your system is to download the free 
BeIarc Advisor (www.belarc.com 
/ free_download.html), a utility that 
builds a detailed profile of your in- 
stalled software and hardware. 
Back up your data. Making a backup 
of your important data files should be a 
routine part of your life, but it's espe- 
cially important when you plan on 
something as critical as clearing off your 
hard drive. As part of your backup, 
make sure you include documents, 






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browser favorites, images, music, and 
other files. For your email address books 
and messages, you can usually start 
your email program, choose File, and 
find an export option. 

Find your discs and license numbers. 
To reinstall Windows, youTl need your 
original installation CD with any license 
numbers it included and all your applica- 
tion and device discs. If you originally 
purchased your copy of Windows or 
bought your computer from a 
small vendor, you probably have 
an original Windows CD. If you 
own a computer that came from a 
major vendor, it may have come 
with a recovery or restore CD, 
rather than a Windows CD. A re- 
covery CD is custom-created to in- 
clude a vendor-specific Windows 
version plus all the hardware 
drivers, utility programs, and ap- 
plications for your computer. It's 
typically easy to use because it au- 
tomatically partitions and formats 
your hard drive and then installs 
Windows and your software. But 
because they rarely give you any 
installation options, recovery CDs 
are not as flexible as the regular, 
original Windows CD. 

Some vendors include the Windows 
installation files in a folder on your hard 
drive, rather than give you any type of 
CD. This situation makes it more difficult 
to perform a clean reinstall unless you 
have a CD-RW drive and can copy the 
Windows installation files to CD. Even 
then, the vendor may not have included 
all the necessary files to do a complete 
installation. If you need a CD, contact 
your computer vendor. Microsoft keeps 
a list of Computer Manufacturer Sup- 
port Phone Numbers at www. support 
.microsoft.com/support/webresponse 
/pid/oem.asp. 

Create a startup disk. If you're doing 
a clean installation of Windows 98 /Me, 
youTl need a startup disk (also called a 
boot disk). Go to a computer that has 
Win98/Me and insert a blank floppy 
disk. Click Start, Settings, and Control 
Panel and double-click Add/Remove 
Programs. Next, choose the Startup Disk 
tab and click the Create Disk button. 



Windows will format the floppy and 
copy over the necessary boot files. 
When the process is finished, open My 
Computer and go to the C:\WIN- 
DOWSXCOMMAND folder. Find and 
select the Format.com file, click Edit, 
choose Copy, and, using My Computer, 
navigate to your floppy disk drive and 
choose Edit and Paste. Your startup disk 
should now have everything you need to 
start the Windows installation process. 




To back up your email messages and addresses, _._ 
Export feature found in the File menu of many email 
programs, such as Microsoft Outlook Express. 



You don't need a startup disk with 
Windows 2000/XP because both let you 
boot and set up your hard drive right 
from the CD. However, in rare cases 
where you have an older computer that 
does not support booting from the CD, 
you will have to create your own setup 
disks. For instructions on doing this, 
visit Microsoft Help And Support (www 
.support.microsoft.com) and search for 
Knowledge Base article 197063 for 
Win2000 or article 310994 for WinXP. 

Copy the WinXP Activation file. After 
installing WinXP, you must activate your 
copy to continue using it. You can bypass 
the activation process when you reinstall 
Windows by copying the Wpa.dbl file 
from the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 
folder to a floppy disk before you start the 
reinstall. Once the installation is complete, 
boot your computer with the WinXP CD 
and choose to start the Recovery Console. 
At the console prompt, copy the Wpa.dbl 
file back to the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM- 
32 folder. Because you haven't changed 




any of your hardware components from 
the previous installation, the original acti- 
vation is still valid. 

Create Partitions & Format With 
Win98/Me 

The first step in performing a clean in- 
stall of Win98/Me is to create a partition 
on the hard drive using a DOS program 
called FDISK. Partitions are logical sec- 
tions of a single physical hard drive that 
Windows sees as separate drives 
with their own drive letters. 

Boot the computer from the 
startup disk and, when the option 
menu appears, choose Start The 
Computer Without CD-ROM 
Support and press ENTER. At the 
DOS prompt, type fdisk, press 
ENTER, and, if you are asked if 
you want to enable large disk 
support, type y and press ENTER. 
This takes you to the main menu. 
To delete the existing parti- 
tion, type 3 and press ENTER. If 
you have more than just a pri- 
mary partition, delete the parti- 
tions in backward order, starting 
with option 4 (Non-DOS Parti- 
tions), then option 3 (Logical 
DOS Drives), option 2 (Extended Par- 
tition), and finally option 1 (Primary 
Partition). Press ESC, and youTl be back 
at the main menu. 

To create a new partition, select op- 
tion 1 and press ENTER, and youTl see 
options for creating a primary partition, 
an extended partition, and a logical 
drive in the extended partition. Because 
we don't have any partitions at this 
point, choose option 1. YouTl be asked if 
you want to create the primary partition 
using all available space. Choose Y, and 
when the process is done, youTl be 
prompted to escape from FDISK and 
restart your computer. 

From the boot menu, choose Start 
Computer With CD-ROM Support and 
press ENTER. At the DOS prompt, type 
format c: and press ENTER. Windows 
warns you that all the data on drive C: 
will be lost and asks if you want to con- 
tinue. Press Y and then ENTER to start 
the formatting. When it's complete, you 
can give the partition an optional 



PC Today / December 2004 31 







indows Boot Cami 



L 



Maybe It's Time To Upgrade 




A s you consider rein- 
#m stalling Windows 


new features, including 


and find the $99 up- 


an enhanced user inter- 


grade to WinXP Home 


98/Me/2000, it's a good 


face, a built-in Internet 


Edition or $199 upgrade 


time to think about an 


firewall, device driver 


to WinXP Professional a 


upgrade to Windows XP. 


rollback, unlimited parti- 


bit steep. Also consider 


This latest Windows ver- 


tion and file sizes (within 


that you need a com- 


sion offers some very 


disk space), and inte- 


puter with at least a 


attractive benefits. 


grated CD burning, just 


233MHz processor 


According to 


to name a few. For a 


(300MHz or better is 


Microsoft, upgrading to 


good comparison of 


recommended), at least 


WinXP is a much better 


WinXP and older Win- 


64MB RAM (128MB is 


choice than installing or 


dows versions, visit 


recommended), 1.5GB 


reinstalling Win2000. 


www.microsoft.com 


of free hard drive space, 


Built upon a new 32- 


/windowsxp/pro/eval 


an optical drive (CD- 


bit engine and fully pro- 


uation/whyupgrade 


R/RW or DVD-R/RW is 


tected memory model, 


/featurecomp.asp. 


needed for CD burning), 


WinXP is more stable 


Upgrading is certainly 


and a video card and 


and reliable than the 


not for everyone, espe- 


monitor that supports 


older Windows versions, 


cially if you are happy 


VGA (800 x 600 pixels) or 


and it provides a host of 


with your current version 


higher resolution. 1 



volume label; press 
ENTER to return to 
the DOS prompt. 



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Install 
Win98/Me 

With your primary 
partition created and 
formatted, it's time 
to install Windows. 
Insert the Windows 
CD into the CD-ROM 
drive and, from the 
DOS prompt, type 
x:setup (where x is 
your optical drive 
letter), press ENTER, 
press ENTER again at 
the next prompt, and 
the setup program will start ScanDisk on 
the hard drive. When ScanDisk is fin- 
ished, a graphical screen appears, and 
you're able to use your mouse again. 
Click the Continue button, and the Win- 
dows Setup Wizard will launch and lead 
you through the installation. 

During the installation, you choose 
a folder for Windows (typically C:\ 
WINDOWS), and then you're asked to 
choose from a list of four Setup Options, 

32 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



- 



a 



You can avoid having to reactivate 
Windows XP by making a backup 
copy of the Wpa.dbl file that's 
found in the C:\WINDOWS\ 
SYSTEM32 folder and then copying 
it back to that folder in the new 
Windows install. 



including Typical, 
which is the best 
choice for most users. 
Choose components 
to install and enter a 
computer and work- 
group name, as well 
as your location, us- 
er information, and 
product key. Win- 
dows setup then scans 
your computer for 
PnP (Plug-and-Play) 
devices, restarts your 
computer, and con- 
figures your date/ 
time properties, Con- 
trol Panel, and Start 
menu. After a final 
restart, enter a username and (if you 
want) password, and then Windows 
greets you with a Welcome window. 

Install Win2000/XP 

Turn on your computer and, as it 
starts, insert the Win2000/XP CD into the 
optical drive. Windows will prompt you 
to boot from the CD, and then it automat- 
ically starts the Setup program. It begins 
by loading various driver files and then 



displays the license agreement. Once you 
press F8 to accept the agreement, setup 
displays a list of existing hard drive parti- 
tions and gives you options to install on 
the existing partition, create a new parti- 
tion, or delete the existing partition. For a 
clean install, press the D key (to delete 
the existing partition) and, once it's 
deleted, press the C key to create a new 
partition. By default, setup uses the entire 
drive to create one large partition, and 
after you press ENTER to advance to the 
formatting screen, you are asked to 
choose a file system. 

Win2000/XP give you the option of 
using the older FAT32 file system or the 
newer NTFS. Generally, the only reason 
not to use NTFS is if you are setting up 
a dual-boot system where one of the 
operating systems is Win98 or WinMe. 
(Neither can access NTFS hard drives.) 
Compared to FAT32, NTFS includes more 
security features, is more reliable, and 
supports virtually unlimited partition and 
file sizes. FAT32 is limited to a maximum 
partition size of 32GB in Win2000/XP and 
a maximum file size of 4GB. 

After choosing the file system, the 
drive is formatted, and setup begins 
copying files to the drive. The rest of the 
installation process is fairly straight- 
forward, although you'll be asked for 
date/time settings, network settings, 
Internet settings, and an administrator 
password. Finally, you'll have to decide 
if you want to activate Windows now or 
at a later date. Choose a later date and, 
when the installation is complete, reacti- 
vate Windows using the method we dis- 
cussed previously. 

Finish Up 

With Windows installed, you have 
one last Windows-related task to per- 
form: a Windows Update. Connect to 
the Internet and point your browser to 
windowsupdate.microsoft.com. Once 
there, click the Scan For Updates link 
and follow the on-screen directions. 
Once all the updates are installed, you're 
ready for the next challenge: reinstalling 
all your programs and copying your 
data files from the backup disks, pct 

by John Lortz and Susan Leavitt 






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■ Windows 
Commands 



Before there was Windows, there was 
DOS. In the DOS world, every pro- 
gram was started by typing the program 
name at a DOS prompt. Eventually, 
Windows saved us from fumbling fin- 
gers typing all those commands and re- 
placed them with nice-looking menus 
and buttons. The programs are still there, 
of course, but it's rare we actually type 
their names at a DOS prompt. 

The majority of the applications and 
programs we interact with every day are 
on the Windows Start menu. But there 
are some programs that are only avail- 
able through a command prompt or are 
simply buried deep within a menu, 
which makes getting to them a real pain. 

This list explains many of the com- 
mon and even some not-so-common 
programs. All of them can be run from 
a command prompt: click Start, select 
Run, type command, and press OK. You 
can run others from the Run dialog box. 

Get To FUN 

If you want to run a program that 
isn't in your Programs folder, the stan- 
dard method is to click Start and Run, 
type the name of the program you want, 
and click OK. But if you need to run that 
kind of program often, you're likely to 
tire of that sequence quickly. There is a 
quicker way to run a program, and you 
can even use it to launch a browser 
window to a Web site. 

Right-click an unoccupied area of 
your Taskbar, select Toolbars, and, on 
the pop-up menu, see if the Address 
item is checked, and if it is not, click it 
to activate the Address item in your 



Taskbar. Next, click and drag the Ad- 
dress panel of the Taskbar to the right 
until you see an Address bar similar to 
the one in Internet Explorer. 



Toolbars ► 


• Address 1 


Cascade Windows 
Tile Windows Horizontally 
Tile Windows Vertically 
Show the Desktop 


• Windows Media Player l^ ■! 
Links 

• Language bar 
Desktop 

• Quick Launch 

New Toolbar,., 


Task Manager 




Lock the Taskbar 


1 








Select Address from the Toolbars menu 
to display an Address box in the Taskbar. 



You can now type your program 
name into the Address bar and press 
ENTER to launch the program. If you 
need to run a command line program, 
type cmd and press ENTER to open a 
DOS prompt. You can also type any URL 
and press ENTER to launch the Web site 
in a browser. 

It's much quicker to open programs 
such as Notepad and Paint this way than 
to navigate Windows Explorer. 

BOOTCFG (Windows 2000/XP) 

Bootcfg.exe is a command line pro- 
gram that assists in making changes to 
your startup settings. It modifies the 
Boot.ini file. Log in as administrator or 
part of the administrator group to use it. 
Type bootcfg /query to view the current 
settings in your computer. 

CHKDSK (Windows 95/98/ 
98SE/Me/2000/NT/XP) 

Chkdsk.exe checks your hard drive 
for any errors and corrects them (if 
that's possible). 




CLEANMGR (Win98/98SE/ 
2000/XP) 

Cleanmgr.exe runs the Disk Cleanup 
program that scans your hard drive for 
temporary files. Once Disk Cleanup is 
through scanning, youTl have to select 
which file types you want to delete 
and click OK to delete them. You can 
free up a surprising amount of space 
on your hard drive by running Disk 
Cleanup, so make it a part of your 
weekly routine. 

COMP (Win98/98SE/Me/ 
2000/XP) 

Comp.exe runs in a DOS window 
and is used to compare the contents of 
two files. You can run it in interactive 
mode, in which case the program will 
prompt you for the two file names and, 
after the second file, an option for a 
comparison method. Depending on 
what types of files you're comparing, 
you can type switches such as /l, which 
displays line number differences, or 
/n-number, where number is the num- 
ber of lines (starting with the first) you 
want to compare. You also can supply 
the file names and options at the com- 
mand prompt with the command name. 
For instance, type something such as 
comp filel.txt file2.txt /l. 

CONTROL (Win98/98SE/Me/ 
2000/XP) 

This is the Control Panel, and when 
you run it from the command line, it 
will open in the normal GUI (graphical 
user interface). 



PC Today / December 2004 33 







indows Boot Cami 



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C:\UINDOUS\Fonts>driuerquery 

Module Name Display Nane Driuf 


r Type Link Date 


a347bus a347bus K 
a347scsi a347scsi K 
abp480n5 abp480n5 H 
ACPI Microsoft ACPI Driver K 
ACPIEC OCPIEC ] 
adpu.lt.0n adpuifaHni ] 
ae audio ae audio 1 
aec Microsoft Kernel Acous K 
AFD AFD Networking Support H 
agpCPQ Compaq AGP Bus Filter H 
flhal54x Ahal54x i 
aic78u2 aic78u2 H 
aic78xx aic78xx H 
Alilde fllilde Y 
aliml541 ALI AGP Bus Filter K 
andagp AMD AGP Bus Filter Dri ] 
ansint amsint 1 
asc asc H 
asc3350p asc3350p ] 
asc3S5B asc35S0 1 
AsyncMac RAS Asynchronous Media 1 
Atmarpc AIM ARP Client Protoco 1 
audstub Audio Stub Driuer 1 
Beep Beep H 
cbidf cbidf h 
cbidf2k cbidf2k H 
CCDECODE Closed Caption Decoder H 
cd20xrnt cd20xrnt ] 
Cdaudio Cdaudio K 


:E 


1 4/30/200 
1 4/30/200 


4 2:37:01 AM 
4 2:32:58 AM 


1 8/2 
1 8/1 
1 5/3 
1 4/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/2 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 5/1 
1 5/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 
1 12/ 
1 8/1 
1 8/1 


9/200 
7/200 

0/200 

Z2002 
2/200 
9/200 
7/200 
7/200 

0/200 
0/200 

7/200 


2 4:09:03 AM 
1 4:57:55 PM 

1 5:18:22 AM 
9:39:14 AM 

2 1:54:24 PM 
2 5:01:13 AM 
1 4:57:59 PM 
1 4:51:59 PM 
1 4:23:41 PM 
1 4:23:40 PM 
1 4:51:54 PM 


7/200 
7/200 
7/200 


1 4:57:59 PM 
1 4:58:00 PM 
1 4:52:01 PM 


7/200 
7/200 
7/200 
7/200 
7/200 


1 4:51:58 PM 
1 4:52:01 PM 
1 4:51:56 PM 
1 4:55:29 PM 
1 4:46:40 PM 


7/200 
7/200 
7/200 
7/200 
4/200 
7/200 
7/200 


1 4:59:40 PM 
1 4:47:33 PM 
1 4:52:06 PM 

1 4:52:06 PM 

2 5:04:11 AM 
1 4:52:04 PM 
1 4:52:26 PM 


Driverquery.exe lists all currently installed drivers 
on the computer. 



DEFRAG (Win95/98/98SE/Me/ 
2000/XP) 

Defrag.exe is the DOS command line 
version of the Disk Degragmenter pro- 
gram that is found in the System Tools 
folder. You must run DEFRAG in a DOS 
window with the proper command 
switches, such as defrag C: to defrag- 
ment the C: drive. 

DISKPART (Win2000/XP) 

Diskpart.exe is generally used in set- 
ting up a new system. By itself, it won't 
format a drive; however, it creates a par- 
tition, and the format command can then 
be executed on the new partition. Use 
this command with caution if you plan 
on executing it on a working system, as 
it can make your current partition inac- 
cessible. You must run DISKPART from 
a DOS window. 

DRIVERQUERY (Win2000/XP) 

Driverquery.exe runs from a DOS 
box to display the list of installed driv- 
ers and their properties. You can also 
run it with various parameters, such as 
/v, which displays detailed driver in- 
formation, and the /s switch, which 
displays the IP (Internet Protocol) ad- 
dress of the computer. 

FSUTIL (Win2000/XP) 

Fsutil.exe is a command line utility 
that allows extensive management of 
hard drive resources. You can use it to 
determine unused storage, to change 
volume information, and to manage 
quotas on NTFS file systems. Don't ex- 
periment with this program. It is de- 

34 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



signed to be used only by the 
experienced administrator. 

IPCONFIG (Win95/98/ 
98SE/Me/2000/XP) 

Ipconfig.exe is useful for de- 
termining IP networking set- 
tings. It runs as a command 
line utility in a DOS window. 
Typical uses are to find a com- 
puter's current IP address and 
to request a new IP address 
from a server. 



LABEL (Win95/98/98SE/ 
Me/2000/XP) 

Label.exe allows the naming of a 
disk or volume, and you can also use it 
to rename a volume. It's run from a 
DOS window. 



General SY5TEM.INI WIN. INI BOOT. INI Services Startup 



Selection 
Normal Stai 
O Diagnostic St.: and services only 

Selective Startup 

0Process5Y5TEM.INI File 
0ProcessWIN.INI File 
@ Load System Services 
[W] Load Startup Items 
0UseOriginalBOOT.INI 



. . : ; or:.: 



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[ Cancel ] 



Type msconfig in the Run dialog box to bring up the 
System Configuration Utility. 



MEM (Win95/98/98SE/Me/ 
2000/XP) 

Mem.exe is a DOS window program 
that displays the current memory 
usage. When run with the /c switch, it 
shows the details of the amount of 
memory being used by each program 
currently loaded. 

MSCONFIG (Win2000/XP) 

Msconfig.exe opens the System 
Configuration Utility and lets you re- 
view and modify the various settings 
that go into effect during Windows 
startup process. It runs in Windows and 
shows up as a standard Windows GUI 
program. You can use MSCONFIG if 
you have error messages during your 
startup process, to temporarily change 



the configuration and experiment with 
disabling various settings to eliminate 
the errors. 

MSINF032 (WinNT/2000/XP) 

Msinfo32.exe runs as a Windows ap- 
plication, but you can start it from the 
command line. It is similar to SYSTEM- 
INFO in that it queries the computer for 
various settings and status; however, 
MSINF032 is an interactive application 
while SYSTEMINFO simply creates a 
list. Use MSINF032 to check your com- 
puter for installed drivers, applications, 
and other internal settings. 

NBTSTAT (Win95/98/98SE/Me/ 
2000/XP) 

Nbstat.exe is a command line utility 
that displays various NetBIOS net- 
working settings and is 
useful when diagnosing 
problems in small networks. 
It has several configuration 
switches. One particularly 
useful one, -r, lists the names 
of all computers the local 
NetBIOS network recognizes. 

NET (Win95/98/98SE/ 
Me/2000/XP) 

Net.exe is a command line 
program you can use to con- 
trol various network con- 
nection functions. It allows 
manual control for mapping 
drives, naming workgroups, and even 
starting and stopping sharing functions. 
The functions included in NET's switches 
are all included elsewhere in menus and 
functions, so there is little need to use the 
program. However, typing net view to 
see the names of the various computers 
attached to the local network can be 
faster than clicking Start, My Network 
Places, and View Workgroup Computers. 

NETSH (Win2000/XP) 

Netsh.exe is an updated and interac- 
tive version of Net.exe. Windows 2000 
and later versions provide it as a tool for 
administrators to manage networking 
functions. The program allows adminis- 
trators to create configuration files and 
save them to run at system startup or 






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whenever necessary to change net- 
working configurations. 

NETSTAT (Win2000/XP) 

Netstat.exe is a command line pro- 
gram that displays the list of TCP/IP 
(Transmission Control Protocol /Internet 
Protocol) ports being used by the com- 
puter. Network administrators may use 
this program to check connections be- 
tween the computer and the network. 

NTBACKUP (WinNT/XP) 

You can launch Ntbackup.exe from 
a command prompt to run the 
Windows backup program. The 
backup wizard appears by default 
and walks you through setting up 
your system for making backups. 
You can also run the utility by 
clicking Start, Programs (or All 
Programs in WinXP), Accessories, 
System Tools, and Backup. 



the provided information in the various 
views to identify bottlenecks in how a 
computer functions. 

PROGMAN (Win95/98/98SE/ 
Me/2000/XP) 

Progman.exe runs from the command 
line and launches a Windows applica- 
tion with controls for creating program 
groups. This is useful if you want to 
combine several applications in a single 
group. You can then place the group on 
the Start menu or on the Desktop for 
quick access. 




Display the on-screen keyboard by typing osk in the 
command line. 



OSK (Win95/98/98SE/ 
Me/2000/XP) 

Osk.exe is the On-screen Keyboard, 
which is part of Microsoft's Accessibility 
suite. You can run it from the command 
prompt or access it by clicking Start, 
Programs (or All Programs in WinXP), 
Accessories, Accessibility, and then 
On-screen Keyboard. 

PING (Win95/98/98SE/Me/ 
2000/XP) 

Ping.exe is a widely used command 
line utility for testing Internet connec- 
tions. It provides a quick way of testing 
whether communication can be estab- 
lished between your computer and an- 
other computer or server across the 
Internet. PING sends a series of short 
messages to a remote computer and 
measures the time required to receive a 
reply. You can specify the remote com- 
puter's URL (as in www.pctoday.com) 
or its IP address if you know it. 

PERFMON (WinNT/2000/XP) 

You can run Perfmon.exe from a com- 
mand line, but it opens a Windows ap- 
plication you can use to monitor your 
computer's performance in a variety of 
areas. Administrators can then access 



REGEDIT (Win95/98/98SE/Me/ 
2000/XP) 

Regedit.exe runs from the command 
line but displays the Registry Editor in an 
application window. REGEDIT lets you 
maintain the Windows Registry, which 
maintains a computer's configuration 
settings. Don't experiment by making 
changes to the Registry, and always make 
a backup of your current Registry before 
making any changes at all. Small changes 
in the Registry can cause unexpected con- 
sequences and may even completely dis- 
able your Windows installation. 

SECEDIT (WinXP) 

You can start Secedit.exe from the 
command line but it is a Windows appli- 
cation that analyzes Windows security 
by comparing the current configuration 
with the last configuration. It checks 
your user and group settings, services, 
and security policy and alerts you to any 
differences between the previous and 
current configurations. 

SFC (Win98/98SE/NT/Me/ 
2000/XP) 

You can initiate Sfc.exe either from a 
DOS box or by using the Run function. It 




must be run with a configuration para- 
meter to specify when to run and what 
action to take. SFC (System File Checker) 
tests all protected system files to assure 
you have the proper versions. If it dis- 
covers an improper version, SFC will 
copy the correct version from the %SYS- 
TEMROOT% \ S YSTEM32 \ DLLC ACHE 
folder. Try running SFC with the 
/runnow switch to check your system 
files immediately. 

SYSTEMINFO (WinXP) 

Systeminfo.exe is useful for trou- 
bleshooting problems because it 
scans the computer and reports 
detailed information about the 
computer, operating system, ap- 
plied patches, hardware, firm- 
ware version, product ID, and 
many other properties. 

TASKLIST (Win2000/XP) 

Tasklist.exe displays a list of 

processes currently running on 

your computer. The list is the same as 

the list shown in the Processes tab of the 

Windows Task Manager. 

TASKKILL (Win2000/XP) 

You can use Taskkill.exe to termi- 
nate a running process. Use Tasklist 
.exe to find which processes are run- 
ning and then run TASKKILL followed 
by either the task name or the process 
number to end the process. This is the 
command line version of the End 
Process button in the Process tab of the 
Windows Task Manager. 

TASKMGR (Win2000/XP) 

Windows Task Manager is a Win- 
dows program. Start it by typing the 
command in the command line, by 
right-clicking an empty space on the 
Taskbar, and then selecting Task 
Manager; or by pressing CTRL-ALT- 
DELETE. Task Manager is useful for 
finding what applications and pro- 
cesses are running and viewing the 
current memory and processor usage of 
your computer, pct 

by Scott Koegler 



PC Today / December 2004 35 






Hxperts Only 




The BIOS 




You rarely think about trouble- 
shooters until you run into trouble. 
It's like watching a rocket launch from 
Cape Canaveral, Fla.; you don't think 
much about the NASA troubleshooters 
at the command center in Houston as 
long as the astronauts are issued an "all 
systems go." 

Similarly, your computer has its own 
command center, the BIOS (Basic 
Input/Output System). Without an OK 
from the BIOS, your operating system 
won't launch. 

What is the BIOS? 

When you turn on your PC, the BIOS 
immediately goes to work. The BIOS is 



considered firmware, which is a type of 
software highly integrated with hard- 
ware. An older BIOS is typically housed 
in a ROM chip and built right into the 
system. Flash BIOS is a newer type of 
BIOS and is stored on a flash memory 
chip, which you can erase and reprogram. 
Think of the BIOS as the pre-OS pro- 
gram that enables a PC to do everything 
it can possibly do without accessing soft- 
ware from a disk. This may not seem 
like much because we work and play on 
OS-driven PCs. But actually, the BIOS 
makes possible quite a bit of func- 
tionality. The code written into this 
firmware is responsible for controlling 
such things as disk drives; identifying 



the presence of key system elements 
(such as the processor and memory 
size); communicating with monitors, 
keyboards, mice, and other peripherals; 
and more. It turns on the system, 
checking all the essential configurations 
so that the system can launch your OS. 
Once the OS is running, it assumes the 
BIOS' role as the identifier and controller 
of peripherals. 

Are all BlOSes the same? 

No. A number of companies make 
BlOSes, so the code differs from version 
to version. Top BIOS makers include AMI 
(www.ami.com), Phoenix Technologies 
(www.phoenix.com), IBM (www.ibm 
.com), and Intel (www.intel.com). Some 
BIOS makers also make entire systems, 
while others concentrate on components, 
such as processors and motherboards. 

How can I identify which BIOS 
version I have? 

If you have an older PC, such as one 
running Windows 98 or earlier, you 
likely can see your BIOS ID string — a 
long string of numbers and letters — on 
the startup screen when you boot your 
system. However, on newer systems, 
your BIOS may be configured to conduct 
a silent boot, which means you won't see 
the results of the POST (power on self 
test), which the BIOS conducts when 
you turn on your system. Therefore, 
you'll need to search elsewhere for your 
BIOS version. 

Try finding your BIOS version under 
System Information, a portion of 
Windows found in the Start menu. In 
Windows XP, click Start, All Programs, 
Accessories, System Tools, and System 
Information. The information you need 
is listed under System Summary. 

In the right pane, next to BIOS 
Version/Date, you'll see the BIOS manu- 
facturer, the version, and the date it was 
created. This won't help you access the 
BIOS, of course, but it's information you 
should know. In fact, you should copy 
this data to a piece of paper and keep it 
in a safe place, especially if you plan on 
modifying your current BIOS or up- 
grading to a new version (see the "How 
Can I Upgrade My BIOS?" sidebar for 



36 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Jlxperts Only 



How Can I Upgrade Mv BIOS? 



Generally, manufac- 
turers release up- 
dates to BIOS (Basic 
Input/Output System) 
versions for one of two 
reasons: either to fix a 
flaw in the BIOS or to 
add support for hard- 
ware or new func- 
tions. Similarly, 
your best reason 
for upgrading 
your BIOS is if you 
have upgraded 
key hardware 
components, such 
as a processor, 
hard drive, or 
video card. 

To find an up- 
dated BIOS version 
for your system, 
first visit the Web 
site of your BIOS maker. 
If the upgrade is avail- 
able at this site, it should 
give you step-by-step in- 
structions on how to 



obtain and install the 
file. Not surprisingly, this 
will vary from site to 
site. One scenario might 
require you to fill out 
a form or let the site 
scan your system before 
you can download the 




Mr. Bios is a good place to hunt for a 
BIOS upgrade online, especially if you 
have one made by the companies 
listed in this screen shot. 



appropriate upgrade 
file, save it to your hard 
drive, extract it, and 
then save it to a floppy 
disk. Then, you'll need 



to insert the disk and 
let the executable file 
do its work. 

On the other hand, 
some BIOS upgrade 
sites prefer to mail you 
the disk with the up- 
dated file and installa- 
tion instructions. 

Another option 
is to visit a BIOS 
upgrade clearing 
house site, such as 
eSupport (www 
.mrbios.com), 
which provides up- 
grades for several 
top BIOS makers. 
It offers several 
methods for ob- 
taining a new BIOS. 

Alternately, try 

BIOS-Drivers.com 
(www.bios-drivers 
.com), a Web site that 
provides links to vir- 
tually all of today's 
BIOS makers. I 



more information about obtaining and 
implementing BIOS upgrades). 

Another option is to consult your 
computer's user manual. It may include 
both the BIOS version and the method 
for accessing it. 

Finally, you could visit the Web site 
of your computer's manufacturer, which 
might reveal not only your BIOS type, 
but also how to upgrade your version. A 
simple search for "BIOS versions" or 
"accessing the BIOS" should lead you to 
the correct portions of the site. You may 
need to narrow your search by your 
PC's model. 

For instance, IBM ThinkPad users can 
visit a page on the IBM Web site devoted 
especially to them at www.pc.ibm.com 
/us/thinkpad/community.html. The 
How To Access The BIOS page is for 
ThinkPad users running at least Win98 
Second Edition. Click the Detect BIOS 



Version button to scan your system, and 
your version will be displayed in a pop-up 
window. You also can check the table on 
this page to find specific instructions on 
how to access the BIOS on your system. 

How do I open the BIOS? 

This is not a universal process. The 
method for accessing the BIOS tends to 
be different for each computer manufac- 
turer, if not for each system model. 
Because tweaking the BIOS is not usu- 
ally a necessity and is often more 
harmful than helpful if you don't know 
what you're doing, some computer man- 
ufacturers try to keep it hidden. As with 
the Windows Registry, you're not en- 
couraged to mess with the BIOS unless 
you're certain you know what you're 
doing and it's absolutely necessary. 

Perhaps you're fortunate enough to 
have a system that discloses the key 



combination to open the BIOS when you 
start your computer. For instance, on our 
Gateway PC that runs WinXP, after we 
turn on the power, the first screen we see 
includes the notice that we can access 
our BIOS settings by pressing the F2 key. 

If the startup screen doesn't yield any 
information, then try the methods we 
mentioned above for discovering your 
BIOS ID string. Your system manual or 
manufacturer should be able to tell you 
how to enter the BIOS. 

Once you delve into your BIOS, you 
may see the acronym CMOS (comple- 
mentary metal-oxide semiconductor), es- 
pecially if you have an older system. 
This is a type of RAM chip on your 
motherboard and is the crucial spot that 
stores all of your system configurations. 
It's up to the BIOS, however, to check 
those configurations each time you boot 
your computer and, when needed, to 
update the settings to the CMOS chip. 
Because the BIOS and CMOS work so 
closely, your BIOS interface may be la- 
beled as CMOS Setup Utility or some- 
thing similar, but technically they're not 
one and the same. 

What settings can I change in 
BIOS? 

Your BIOS might be structured differ- 
ently than ours, even if only in how the 
sections are labeled. Nevertheless, what 
follows are highlights of the contents of 
a typical newer BIOS. We've chosen to 
describe features as they are grouped on 
the various screens in our BIOS. (The 
BIOS we describe is made by Intel.) 

Main. On this introductory screen, 
you'll get a snapshot of your system's 
build: the BIOS version, processor type 
and speed, system bus and memory 
speed, cache RAM, and total memory. 
Obviously, you can't change these 
numbers unless you physically change 
your PC. 

About the only settings you can 
change on the main screen are the lan- 
guage, date, and time. Use your key- 
board's Up and Down arrow keys to 
navigate to the appropriate field, and if 
you need to input new data, press 
ENTER. Although you can change your 
system's date and time in BIOS, you can 



PC Today / December 2004 37 



Hxperts Only 



more easily change these through the 
Windows interface. 

Advanced. Now we get to the heart 
of the BIOS settings. The values en- 
tered here, if correct, will keep your 
system humming. If incorrect, they 
could lead to system failure, so tinker 
with them at your own risk. A good 
rule of thumb is to double-check this 
section of the BIOS anytime you up- 
grade your system with new hardware, 
whether internal pieces or peripherals, 
to make sure the following settings 
match your new components. 

1. Peripheral Configuration. Use this 
screen to turn on or off serial and par- 
allel ports, plus change more 
specific settings. For instance, 
our Serial Port A system IRQ 
(interrupt request line) is IRQ4. 
In DOS systems, there are four 
supported serial communica- 
tion ports: COM1, COM2, 
COM3, and COM4. Only two 
IRQs, IRQ3 and IRQ 4, are 
available for those four ports to 
enable communication between 
devices and the processor. 
When you add a new periph- 
eral device, you may have to 
specify which IRQ it can use. 
Plug-and-Play technology usu- 
ally handles these settings au- 
tomatically, but if a problem 
arises, you now know where to 

look in the BIOS. 

2. Drive Configuration. If you were to 
install a new hard drive, you'd want to 
check here to make sure the new settings 
are noted. For example, in our BIOS, we 
have several setting options for the 
ATA/IDE (Advanced Technology 
Attachment/Integrated Drive Electronics) 
configuration. ATA is a hard drive specifi- 
cation in which the data controller — a 
chip used for communicating with pe- 
ripheral devices — is located on the drive. 
ATA is based on IDE technology. 

Also on this screen is a list of either 
detected or undetected IDE devices. 
When the BIOS goes to work, it looks for 
the presence of installed or attached IDE 
devices. If a device is detected, you 
might be able to tweak a setting or two, 
but modifying these settings won't affect 



the performance of your IDE drives; 
that's controlled by IDE drivers and 
your OS. 

3. Floppy Configuration. Should you 
install a new floppy disk drive, you 
might need to modify certain settings 
here. You should have the option to se- 
lect the size of the newly installed drive, 
such as a 2.88MB 3.5-inch drive. You 
also may be able to turn on or off a 
write-protect feature for this drive. 

4. Event Log Configuration. Your 
system may contain a DMI (Desktop 
Management Interface) event log. A 
DMI log keeps track of the changes 
made to a system, such as program 











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and Power Interface) specification. ACPI 
settings enable you to dictate how much 
system juice is devoted to each periph- 
eral device. If not in use, a PC can shut 
down a device, saving system resources. 
You also may be able turn on and off an 
"after power failure"-type setting, which 
determines how your system reacts in 
the event of a power failure. 

As with some other BIOS settings, 
these power management settings are 
typically handled with no problems by 
your OS. 

Boot. Your options here include a pot- 
pourri of boot-related settings. For 
starters, you might be able to determine 
the sequence in which your 
system boots its drives and re- 
movable devices. You also can 
turn on or off the silent boot 
feature. In addition, you can 
enable and disable detection 
warnings for system compo- 
nents, such as your drives, key- 
board, and mouse. If these are 
turned on, your PC will notify 
you with a loud beep if it can't 
detect a device. 

How do I safely exit 
BIOS? 



Under the 
your BIOS 



Start menu, open the System Information tool to 
(Basic Input/Output System) version and maker. 



find 



installation. This screen gives you op- 
tions for turning on and off the log and 
then viewing the log's contents, clearing 
it, and marking it as read. 

5. USB Configuration. USB (Uni- 
versal Serial Bus) ports provide fast con- 
nections with peripheral devices such as 
mice. The USB standard is available 
in two versions: USB 1.1 (12Mbps 
[megabits per second]) and USB 2.0 (also 
known as Hi-Speed USB; 480Mbps). 
Look in this section of your BIOS set- 
tings to make sure the correct USB ver- 
sion is enabled based on your installed 
drivers. If your BIOS doesn't offer USB 
support, you'll need to update it before 
upgrading to a USB peripheral. 

Power. Here, at your fingertips, are 
the power management settings based 
on the ACPI (Advanced Configuration 



Your BIOS probably contains 
an Exit screen that gives you a 

safe way to leave the firmware. 

You can save your changes in 
CMOS and exit the BIOS or throw out the 
changes and leave BIOS anyway. 

Your BIOS also likely comes with an- 
other built-in safety feature. If you choose 
to exit BIOS by pressing the ESC button, 
you'll be asked if you want to discard 
changes before exiting. This is a safety net 
that will prevent you from keeping a 
change you accidentally made. 

Don't think that such a mistake won't 
happen. Because navigating the BIOS re- 
quires keyboard strokes instead of the 
more familiar mouse clicks, it's easy to 
accidentally change a setting. 

And as we've warned, even one 
wrong setting in the BIOS could change 
your reality from "all systems go" to 
"system failure." pct 

by Rachel Derowitsch 



38 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Jlxperts Only 





m Search The Web 
With Power 



Needle in a haystack? How about 
10,000 needles in 4 billion hay- 
stacks. That's basically what you tap into 
when you perform an Internet search 
these days. Type Bill Gates in the search 
field, and you'll see thousands upon 
thousands of references, blogs, Mi- 
crosoft-related information, and even a 
few parody sites. According to Google 
(www.google.com), there are more than 
4 billion Internet domains, and most 
searches provide about 60,000 results or, 
in some cases, many more. 

Finding the site you want can become 
a time-consuming and frustrating task. 
Fortunately, every major search engine 
provides advanced search options. 
These more powerful and targeted 
searches help you find the information 
you want by categorizing results, 
weeding out older sites, filtering content 
from foreign countries, limiting the 
search to one or two specific sites, and 
listing the results in a way that's easier 
to browse, dissect, and explore. 

"Search is only one of the information- 
finding tasks," says Susan Feldman, an 
IDC analyst. "We also need to browse, 
analyze, and summarize information. 
Advanced searches should include a 
wider variety of technologies that enable 
browsing, results clustering, text and 
data analytics, question answering, and 
integration of information in multiple 
formats and from multiple sources." 

There are generally two methods to 
perform an advanced search. You can 
type operand characters (such as AND, 




OR, and NOT) into the standard search 
field. For example, if you type Bill Gates 
AND philanthropy, you will see more 
specific results related to the Microsoft 
Chairman's charitable activities. This is a 
Boolean search approach where you use 
mathematical formulas in a command 
line. While a Boolean search works well, 
often it's hard to remember the oper- 
ands, what they do, and how to use 
them together. 

The second method, and the one that 
works better for all but the most technical 
users, is an advanced search page. 
Usually this page is just a link on the 
main search page for Advanced Search 
(or something similar). Once you click the 
link, you'll typically see fields that allow 



you to filter the results. For example, you 
can search for a specific phrase (such as 
"bruce Springsteen concerts") or enable 
stemming, a technique where the results 
are expanded to include variations of the 
search terms. If you search for "car," for 
instance, you will also see results for the 
search term "cars." 

Advanced searching opens up a new 
world of Internet information because 
you can control the search results rather 
than rely on the search engine to feed you 
information. To help you take advantage 
of advanced searching and to help you 
uncover all the power behind the simple 
interfaces, we've provided some of the 
best tips and tricks for the two most 
popular search engines, MSN Search 



PC Today / December 2004 39 



Hxperts Only 



(www.msnsearch.com) and Goo- 
gle. And we've also included a 
few new search tools, some you 
may have never used, which can 
give you even more power over 
your information queries. 



Ogle 



Advanced Search 



■nlh 31 dm one uhhi! » 



MSN Search 

MSN Search has been shifting 
gradually away from a portal 
approach, where you can see all 
kinds of news and entertain- 
ment information on the home 
page, to a more streamlined, al- 
gorithmic approach with just a 
field and Search button. When 
you type in a search term, a 
searchbot takes over and quali- 
fies sites before displaying 
them. In the past, sponsored 
links from paying advertisers 
would appear more promi- 
nently on the results page, but 
now sponsored links are much 
less obtrusive. For the most 
part, a simple search on the 
main page of MSN Search pro- 
duces a well-qualified, intelli- 
gent list of results. 

To access the advanced 
search section, click Advanced 
Search. You'll see a few choices 
for controlling the search. The 
Find drop-down menu includes 
several options for searching: 
All The Words, Any Of The 
Words, and The Exact Phrase. Select 
Links To URL lets you see which sites 
are linked to other sites; type the URL, 
such as www.nfl.com, in the field and 
click Search to see them. If you run your 
own Web site, you can see how many 
other sites are linked to yours. 

Stemming, which we mentioned ear- 
lier, is useful if you want to search for a 
term and other terms that are similar, 
such as "truck" and "trucks." Other search 
engines (such as Google) will do this au- 
tomatically when you perform a search, 
but MSN Search allows you to enable or 
disable it in the Change How Your 
Search Words Are Interpreted section. 

The Show One Result Per Domain op- 
tion is interesting. Using this feature, you 
can search for a term such as "Radiohead" 



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Using Google.com, you can limit the search to just a single 
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MSN Search features a principle called stemming, where a term 
such as "car" produces results for both "car" and "cars." 



and only see one link for each domain. In 
most searches, the results include several 
links for one domain, and you often have 
to wade through them to find individuals. 
There are also options for searching by re- 
gion or language. In the search field for 
Domain, you can type any URL and per- 
form a search on just that site. So, for ex- 
ample, if you search for "Excursion" and 
have "Ford.com" typed into the Domain 
field, you'll only see links for that vehicle 
from Ford.com. 

And there's one last (and extremely 
powerful) function to mention. At the 
bottom of the screen under Restrict Your 
Results To Specific File Types, you'll see 
checkboxes for all kinds of Internet docu- 
ment types, such as PDF (Portable 
Document Format) or Microsoft Word, 



and file formats, such as MP3 
Audio. This unique and pow- 
erful function will automatically 
limit the research results to just 
the documents and files you 
have checked. 



Google 

According to Forrester re- 
search analyst Charlene Li, one 
out of every three people who 
search use Google, and for good 
reason. The comprehensive 
search algorithm embedded in 
Google uses a technique the 
company dubbed PageRank 
(after one of the Google found- 
ers, Larry Page) to quickly and 
efficiently search billions of 
Web sites. The algorithm works 
this way: When you search, 
PageRank examines sites to see 
how many other sites link to 
that site and then presents the 
results based on that popu- 
larity. It makes sense. If mil- 
lions of sites are linking to one 
particular blog dealing with 
beehives, that site must be par- 
ticularly useful. 

To perform a power search 
on Google, click on the 
Advanced Search link at the 
home page. You can search for 

sites that contain all the words 

you type, an exact phrase, at 
least one of the search terms you type, 
and even results that do not contain a 
search term. However, the powerful ca- 
pabilities of the advanced search extend 
far beyond those Boolean functions. 

You can use the Date menu for date- 
specific searches. For example, if you se- 
lect Past 3 Months, you'll only see sites 
in the results that have been updated in 
the past three months. That way, the re- 
sults are highly relevant, and it's an ex- 
cellent method for weeding out archive 
information. For example, if you search 
for the term "Greece" with the Date op- 
tion set at Past 3 Months, the results will 
likely be more about the summer 
Olympics than Greek history. 

The Occurrences menu allows you to 
filter results so that only pages that use 



40 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Jlxperts Only 



your search terms in a particular way are 
displayed. For example, you can specify 
that the term is in the page title (the 
HTML code that displays the site name in 
the Internet Explorer title bar). Or, you can 
select In The URL Of The Page, which 
means that if you search for the term 
"Xbox," you'll only see sites that use that 
term in their domain name, such as 
www.eamxbox.com. It's a great way to 
weed out results based solely on the 
search term being somewhere (anywhere!) 
on the sites you are searching. 

Google offers a parental fil- 
ter in its advanced search. Safe- 
Search weeds out any sites that 
contain pornographic content 
and profanity. You can set 
SafeSearch to Moderate or Strict 
at the Google preferences page 
(see www.google.com/prefer 
ences), which filters either im- 
ages only or image and text. To 
use SafeSearch, just select Filter 
Using SafeSearch. 

Lastly, Google provides two 
powerful functions in the Page- 
Specific Search section. The 
Similar option allows you to 
search for sites that are alike. For ex- 
ample, if you search for the term 
"www.google.com/help.html," you'll see 
a list of other sites with help pages, often 
without even using the same syntax. The 
Link option allows you to search for 
sites that link to another site; typing 
www.pctoday.com in this field, for in- 
stance, shows which sites include links 
to that site. 

It may be useful to know that you can 
perform many of the advanced searches 
on the main Google home page by using 
operands. For example, if you type 
site:www.ford.com you'll only see results 
from Ford's Web site. If you type related: 
and then the site name, you'll see sites 
that offer similar content. Likewise, 
typing ~ immediately before a word will 
force Google to search for synonyms. 

Google has one last trick up its 
sleeve. If you spell something incor- 
rectly, the search engine will suggest a 
link with "Did You Mean" and the cor- 
rect spelling, which will then provide 
much more accurate results. 



Don't Limit Yourself 

Another way to perform an advanced 
search is to use a variety of search engines. 
Try Vivisimo (www.vivisimo.com), which 
categorizes the results folders); IceRocket 
(www.icerocket.com), which puts a 
thumbnail picture of the site in the search 
results; and Ask Jeeves (www.ask.com), 
where you can ask a question in a com- 
plete sentence. Each of these sites offers 
advanced search pages, as well. 



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Sometimes a power search means using a not-so-common search 
engine. Vivisimo, for example, categorizes its search results in 
easy-to-use virtual folders. 



Future Trends 

One of the issues when it comes to ad- 
vanced searching is that it means you 
have to learn a new interface and wade 
through more options. A simple inter- 
face is an important factor in Google's 
success. It explains why search engines 
such as MSN Search have radically sim- 
plified their interfaces recently and 
moved away from visual clutter. 

For some, the solution to the advanced 
search complexity and added time factors 
is to learn the Boolean commands, such as 
using "bananas AND nutrition" in the 
search field, or adding quotation marks 
around the search term, such as "nutri- 
tional information about bananas," which 
forces the search engine to display only 
results that contain that exact phrase. 
However, design expert Don Norman, 
who has written several books on how to 
make complex processes a little easier to 
understand, believes the current model 
used for Boolean searching is inadequate. 

"Study after study shows that people 
do not understand Boolean operations 



or the weird symbols that some search 
engines use," says Norman. 

The answer, in most cases, is to make 
the advanced options more obvious. 
Usability and design expert Jakob 
Nielsen has called for a better interface 
when it comes to finding information on 
the Internet, one that is easier to under- 
stand and use. He asserts that Internet 
searching is now less about finding the 
best sites and more about finding specific 
information for specific queries. Ac- 
cording to Nielsen, "the in- 
creasing improvement in search 
quality over time is driving the 
trend toward answer engines." 

"The issue with Internet 
search is scale," says Alexander 
Linden, a Gartner Group ana- 
lyst. "A couple of billion docu- 
ments makes quick searching — 
in terms of complexity and time 
of indexing — more difficult. 
It is quite conceivable to sug- 
gest that Google and others 
will concentrate on more ad- 
vanced searches." 

Microsoft seems to be on that 

path already, hinting at a future 
Windows Desktop that offers advanced 
search functions, not just for the Internet 
but for all your files. "The MSN vision is 
to take search beyond today's basic 
Internet search services to deliver direct 
answers to people's questions and help 
them find information from a broad 
range of sources regardless of whether it 
lives on the Internet, on people's hard 
drives, an intranet, or anywhere else," 
says Microsoft spokesperson Maureen 
Tingley. "As part of this vision, MSN 
will launch a new algorithmic search en- 
gine and a range of other search services 
within a year." 

Someday, searches will become easier 
and much more powerful, and human 
language searches — those that seem to in- 
terpret what you mean and not just what 
you type — will become more common. 
Until then, you can still see more specific 
and relative results, making the Internet 
haystack more manageable, pct 

by John Brandon 



PC Today / December 2004 41 




EVERYTHING YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED 
EVEN THOUGH YOU'VE NEVER 



OPTICS* MEGA PIXEL CCD 



DV PHOTO PLUS 



DIGIC DV* PRINT & SHARE 



Let's start with the 
first thing you should 
know. DV Photo Plus 
refers to the four 
key technologies 
that give you both premium- 
quality video and photos from a 
single camcorder. And assuming 
that's not everything you wanted 
to know, here's the rest. 

GENUINE CANON OPTICS 

All Canon Mini DV camcorders 
feature high-precision lenses 
designed specifically for camcorder 
use. But did you know that each of 
our camcorders has a unique lens 
that matches its CCD for optimum 
quality? Or that our camcorder 
lenses are made with the same 
expertise used to create lenses 



for professional photographic 
cameras and broadcast TV cameras? 
That's surely worth knowing. 
Especially since your 
fabulous home videos 
will undoubtedly 
. be broadcast to your 

friends and family 
during holidays and 
get-togethers. 

MEGAPIXEL CCD IMAGE SENSOR 

No matter what you're 
shooting, you'll 
get crisp images 
with life-like 
detail because of 
this Megapixel CCD. 
First it captures 
the image. Then it 
registers it. And then 






the image processor converts the 
pixels into both great video and 
great photos. Now, on to the brains 
of the operation, 

DIGIC DV IMAGE PROCESSOR 

DIGIC DV is your camcorder's 
digital brain; you'll find one in every 
Canon Mini DV camcorder. This 
exclusive image processor captures 
accurate color for both video and 
digital photos. And like 
the human brain, 



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you take better pictures by 
heightening the emotion in 
everything you shoot (Colors 
become more vibrant light more 
dramatic, and the color spectrum 
wider.) And, since video and 
digital photos have different color 
requirements, DIGIC DV uses 
two different color techniques 
to maximize video quality on a 
TV and optimize photo quality 
on a computer screen. You 
didn't know that now, did you? 



PRINT AND SHARE 
Print and Share makes it easy 
to print photos directly to a printer 
or to transfer images onto your 
computer. Simply connect the 
camcorder to any Canon printer 
or PictBridge compatible printer, 
select an image and voila: you 
can print it for your family and 
friends. It's almost like having 
your own private photo lab. 

















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SO THERE YOU HAVE IT 
Everything you've always wanted to 
know about DV Photo Plus. Not just 
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CcMOfl KNOW HOW 



©2004 Canon U.S.A. . Inc. Canon and Canon Know How are registered 
trademarks arid "digit.il revriiuliorii/ed video, we revolutionized digital" 
DlGlt DV, and DV Photo Pius are trademarks of Canon Inc. Mac and the 
Mac logo arc trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. 
and other countries. Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are 
trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation In the 
U.S. and/or other countries. The Designed for Windows XP logo refers to 
the digital camcorders and their drivers only. Printer is sold separately. 
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Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 




Did You Get The Memo? 



Tackle The Office 
2003 Upgrade With 
Confidence 



Table Of Contents 

44 Did You Get The Memo? 

48 Navigate Outlook 2003 

50 Track & Organize Email 

52 Banish Junk Email 

54 Personal Library 

56 Read, Compare & Merge Documents 

58 Manage Related Information 

60 Master Smart Tags 

62 Work With XML 

64 Keep Track Of Clips 

66 Organize Your Images 

67 Scan With Ease 

68 Transforming Printed Text Into Digital Text 

69 Downloads For Office 2003 




44 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 












There is 
a cer- 
tain seven-letter 
word that causes of- 
fice employees to faint, 
call in sick for weeks 
on end, or outright flee 
in terror. Is it "layoffs?" 
Nope. "Demotion?" Nope. 
The word is "Upgrade." 

With a single utterance 
of this seemingly harmless 
word, you know you're 
in for long ride, especial- 
ly if your office software 
suite is the target. After 
all, you'll now need to re- 
configure all of your set- 
tings, deal with inevitable 
bugs in the new software, 
and learn how to use all 
the new features that you 
probably didn't want in 
the first place. 

But upgrades tend to 
get bad raps these days, 
especially when they in- 
volve software that actu- 
ally makes the upgrade 
worth the trouble. Such is 
the case with Microsoft 
Office 2003, which offers 
plenty over previous Of- 
fice versions and delivers a 



Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 



Microsoft Office 2003 
comes in multiple 
versions, so make 
sure you choose a 
version that includes 
all of the applications 
you need. 






smooth upgrade experience for users of 
those previous versions. Even if you're 
willingly upgrading, it's still a good idea 
to prepare for not only the technical de- 
tails of the upgrade, but also the wealth of 
new functions you'll have at your dis- 
posal when the software's ready to go. 

Before You Upgrade 

By now, Microsoft understands the 
pains involved with upgrading its Office 
applications, and as a result, Office 2003 
offers the easiest transition yet from an 
older version to a new one. 

There are four retail editions of Office 
2003: Microsoft Office Professional Edi- 
tion 2003 (including Word, Access, Ex- 
cel, Outlook, Outlook with Business 
Contact Manager, PowerPoint, and Pub- 
lisher); Microsoft Office Standard Edi- 
tion 2003 (Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, 
and Excel); Microsoft Office Student 
And Teacher Edition 2003 (including the 
same applications as the Standard edi- 
tion, but for noncommercial use only); 
and Microsoft Office Small Business 
Edition 2003 (Word, Excel, Outlook, 
Outlook with Business Contact Man- 
ager, PowerPoint, and Publisher). 

The Professional, Standard, and Small 
Business editions all qualify for reduced 
upgrade pricing if you already own Office 
XP/2000/97 or Microsoft Works. The 
Professional edition costs $499 for a new 
user or $329 for an upgrade, the Standard 
edition costs $399 new and $239 for an 
upgrade, and the Small Business edition 
costs $449 new or $279 for an upgrade. 
There's no upgrade path for the Student 
And Teacher edition, which has a new 
user price of $149. 

All Office 2003 editions require 
Windows XP or Windows 2000 with 
Service Pack 3, and you should download 
Office 2003 Service Pack 1 right away so 
you can install the update and have its 



security patches in place immediately 
after installing the suite. Browse to the 
Office 2003 Updates page (www. office 
.microsoft.com/en-us/officeupdate 
/CD010798601033.aspx) and click Office 
2003 Service Pack 1 for instructions on 
downloading the patch. 

Take A Big Step 

Office XP offered such significant im- 
provements over previous Office ver- 
sions that we didn't expect to see another 
set of large changes for years. Surpris- 
ingly, Microsoft didn't take nearly that 
long to overhaul its Office suite because 
Office 2003 delivers yet another new set 
of changes. 

Collaborate. Office 2003 features 
major enhancements to aid collaboration, 
helping users to access and share infor- 
mation on small networks and large net- 
works, including the Internet. At the 
heart of this focus on collaboration are 
Document Workspaces, which work as 
centralized sites where workers can 
access files, peruse task lists, and collabo- 
rate on projects. This new feature helps 
organize the collaboration process 
because in the past, working together on 
a single Office file could be a real chore. 
For example, if the project coordinator 
received multiple copies of the same 
Word document, all with changes from 
different project members, she would 
have quite a task pulling together all the 
changes into one cohesive document. 






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2003's Shared Workspace helps to create 
common areas where team members can 
view, share, and edit project files. 



PC Today / December 2004 45 






r ' Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 








Unlock the Power 

of Information Sharing 



: : : • ' 

ners. Using the combined 

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Server 2003; users in your organization can easily create; manage, and build 
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creating collabora '.ring applications. 



In tandem with Office 2003, Microsoft's SharePoint services allow for the creation 
of collaborative Web sites where users can work together in unified fashion. 



But with the Document Workspace, 
you can send a Word, Excel, or Power- 
Point file as a shared email attachment 
and create a Document Workspace, which 
is actually a Windows SharePoint services 
Web site that project members can access 
(as long as your company has the neces- 
sary SharePoint infrastructure). When you 
configure the shared attachment and Doc- 
ument Workspace, every recipient in the 
To field will have access to that work- 
space. Using the new Shared Workspace 
task pane, you can check for updated ver- 
sions of files, check if project members are 
online, and also view file properties. 

When you use Excel with the Share- 
Point services, you can more easily share 
your spreadsheet data with other sources 
(other departments, for example). Instead 
of passing along the actual spreadsheet to 
the other source, you can connect to a site 
in Windows SharePoint, where a list is 
updated with your new data, and others 
can access it electronically. 

Also new to the Office suite is support 
for IRM (Information Rights Manage- 
ment), which lets you grant access to 
files to certain users, a vital feature for 
collaboration environments. This addi- 
tion can help prevent unintended indi- 
viduals from accessing your files. You 
can even set expiration dates on your 
files so others can only view files within 
a set time period. 

A new Outlook. YouTl find some im- 
pressive new organizational features 
in Outlook, including the ability to ar- 
range your messages by conversation, a 
threaded view that eases viewing of 



long, complicated email exchanges. You 
can also tag messages by priority or time 
sensitivity or flag them with one of six 
colors. The new For Follow Up folder 
shows all of your Quick Flagged mes- 
sages, even if they actually reside in dif- 
ferent folders. Another useful addition is 
Search Folders, which lets you simply 
save a folder representing a common 
search, and when you need to run the 
search, simply click it to retrieve mes- 
sages that meet the search criteria. Refer 
to "Navigate Outlook 2003" on page 48, 
"Track & Organize Email" on page 50, 
and "Banish Junk Email" on page 52 for 
more about Outlook 2003. 

Outlook 2003 also features a Reading 
Pane that makes it a breeze to read long 
messages with minimal scrolling. Also 
new is intelligent network detection 
with local caching, which downloads 
incoming material so you're not hand- 
cuffed by network conditions — if the 
network goes kaput, youTl still be able 
to read the downloaded data. 

Do your research. If you find yourself 
constantly leaving an Office application to 
research material on your browser, youTl 
appreciate the new Research Library, a 
task pane in each application that sup- 
plies easy access to not only dictionaries 
and thesauri, but also plenty of online re- 
search. This feature is integrated into the 
applications, so you can simply right-click 
a word and click Look Up to find just 
about anything you need on it. Although 
some of the resources require fees for 
their content, you'll still find plenty of free 
content to boost your productivity. Refer 



to "Personal Library" on page 54 for more 
on the Research Library. 

Easy reading, easy editing. New to 
Word 2003 is the Reading Layout view, 
which automatically optimizes docu- 
ments for ease of reading and editing. 
With larger text, shorter lines, and pages 
designed to fit perfectly on your screen, 
the Reading view creates a nice environ- 
ment not only for reading text, but also 
for editing because you'll find quick ac- 
cess to markup review options and other 
editing functions. (Refer to "Read, Com- 
pare & Merge Documents" on page 56 
for additional information about the 
Reading Layout view.) 

In addition to the easier editing fea- 
tured in the Reading Layout view, 
Word lets you lock specific portions of 
documents for editing, a practical tool 
if you already finalized certain portions 
of a document. You can also let people 
make editing changes but prevent 
them from making changes to a docu- 
ment's formatting. 

Plug in to XML. If you or your com- 
pany is handy with XML (Extensible 
Markup Language), you'll appreciate the 
thorough XML support throughout most 
of Office 2003. For example, you can 
create programmable task panes and 
other schemes to work with other pro- 
grams and XML data sources. Word now 
supports customizable XML data so you 
can open and work with XML-enabled 
documents just like you would any other 
document. For more on XML, see "Work 
With XML" on page 62. 

Use It To Appreciate It 

Whether you've chosen to upgrade to 
Office 2003 or your boss said you have no 
choice, Microsoft's latest Office suite of- 
fers enough new features to make the 
transition more than worthwhile. How- 
ever, to appreciate the new software, you 
should take the time to thoroughly test 
drive its new functions. Although it's easy 
enough to continue working the way you 
used to with Office XP or an earlier suite, 
you'll find that the new collaboration, re- 
search, and other tools really can increase 
your productivity, per 

by Christian Perry 



46 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



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Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 



Navigate 
Outlook 2003 

Check Out What's Different From 
Previous Versions 





Outlook received the 
lion's share of in- 
terface improvements in 
Microsoft Office 2003. 
The ubiquitous business 
email and scheduling 
program might seem a 
little more confusing at 
first glance, but click 
around, and you'll find 
some nice options for 
better organizing the in- 
formation that keeps you 
on track. 



- The Big Picture 

The left side of the 
Outlook window, where 
you probably were used 
to seeing the shortcuts menu 
or a list of your various folders, 
now features the new Navigation 
Pane. You can toggle the Navigation 
Pane on or off by pressing ALT-F1 or se- 
*~ lecting Navigation Pane in the View menu. 
The Navigation Pane is broken into two sections. 
On the top is a list of shortcuts, commands, or 
other tasks that change depending upon what ele- 
ment of Outlook you display. At the bottom of the 
Navigation Pane, you will find oversized buttons 
leading to Outlook's various sections. 

The Navigation Pane is context-sensitive, 
which means it displays different com- 
mands depending on which element of the 
program you are using. Click the Mail 
button, and the Navigation Pane fills itself 
with all mail folders on the bottom and a 
selection of shortcuts to favorite mail 
folders on the top. Click the Calendar 
button, and small monthly calendars take 
over the Navigation Pane. For the Contacts, 
Tasks, and Notes buttons, the Navigation Pane 
provides quick access to View commands that 
formerly required multiple clicks to find. 

The last button by default in the Navigation 
Pane is Shortcuts. The Shortcuts Pane features 
one-click links to Outlook Today and Outlook 
Update. Outlook Today is the same summary 
of Outlook data found in previous versions, 
including upcoming events, tasks, and a running 
total of the unread messages in your inbox. No 
changes here. Outlook Update is merely a link to 
the Microsoft Office Download Center Web page. 
It's easy to add shortcuts and groups of short- 
cuts using the two links at the bottom of the 



Shortcuts Pane. Shortcuts can lead you to 
any folder within Outlook or to non- 
Outlook files stored elsewhere on your 
drive or a network drive. To add a non- 
Outlook shortcut, just drag a file, folder, 
or drive icon to the word "Shortcuts" at 
the top of the pane. If you customized 
your shortcuts list in a previous version 
of Outlook, that list should migrate auto- 
matically to the new Shortcuts Pane. 

If the Navigation Pane just isn't for 
you, a new Go menu provides a fast way 
to switch from one pane to another. Users 
who find the Navigation Pane takes 
up too much valuable screen space can 
instead click Go and choose any one of 
Outlook's various views. If you'd rather 
use the keyboard, the Go menu lists 
shortcuts (such as CTRL-1 for Mail) that 
will whisk you to any pane you choose. 

Email Central 

Email is the heart of Outlook, and 
Office 2003's designers concentrated 
their efforts here. Click the Mail button 
in the Navigation Pane to see Outlook's 
new system. You can access all your 
email folders through the hierarchical 
folder tree under the All Mail Folders 
heading. Favorite Folders at the top is 
reserved for links to email folders that 
you access on a regular basis. To add a 
folder to the Favorite Folders section, 
right-click the folder under All Mail 
Folders and select Add To Favorite 
Folders. You can add folders and virtual 
Search Folders to the Favorite Folders 
section to easily locate the views you 
use. (Refer to the "Track & Organize 
Email" article on page 50.) 

If you are one of those Outlook users 
who used the Preview Pane to read 
email messages in older versions of 
Outlook, you will appreciate the Read- 
ing Pane, which takes over where the 
Preview Pane left off. To toggle the 
Reading Pane, open the View menu, se- 
lect Reading Pane, and choose where 
you want the Reading Pane to appear. 
By default, the Reading Pane shows 
up on the right side of the screen. 
Depending on your monitor and resolu- 
tion settings, it might make more sense 
to move the Reading Pane to the bottom 
of the screen. 






48 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 




Cover Storv I Office 2003 Survival Guide 








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The Navigation Pane, Outlook 2003's control center, changes 
depending on which aspect of the program you are using. In 
Calendar view, small monthly calendars appear. 



The Reading Pane gives you a quick 
look at the contents of whatever message 
you selected in the main mail list. In an 
office setting, you can respond to meeting 
requests and click voting buttons right 
in the Reading Pane without actually 
opening the message. As with the old 
Preview Pane, viewing items in the 
Reading Pane can cause their status to 
change from unread to read. To control 
this function, open the Tools menu, select 
Options, and click the Reading Pane 
button under the Other tab. 

Outlook displays message informa- 
tion in the main window on single lines, 
like in previous versions, or on multiple 
lines when screen space is in short supply. 
For example, the Navigation Pane and 
Reading Pane might scrunch the middle 
pane. Instead of hiding columns, Outlook 
displays the most important fields, such 



as the sender and subject, on different 
lines. If you don't see the column you 
need, hover over a message with the 
mouse, and a ScreenTip with the informa- 
tion will appear. 

Arrangement Options 

Another key to navigating the new 
Outlook is to experiment with email 
arrangements. Arranging email in a folder 
view does not actually move any mes- 
sages around; instead, Outlook displays 
them in different ways so you can quickly 
zero in on important messages in a large 
batch. Outlook starts with 13 built-in 
arrangement options; click the Arranged 
By column heading at the top of the mes- 
sage list or open the View menu and se- 
lect Arrange By to choose from them. 

One arrangement that sounds more 
useful than it ends up being is the 



Conversation option. This selection 
groups messages according to their 
subject lines, which would work better 
if Outlook stored all messages in a single 
folder. Because incoming and outgoing 
emails are kept in different folders, 
arranging by conversation in any par- 
ticular folder necessarily leaves out many 
of the messages. Combine this arrange- 
ment with an appropriate Search Folder, 
and you might be on to something. 

Set The Date 

Strolling through Outlook's Calendar 
is a bit easier in the new version. Because 
the monthly Date Navigator calendars 
are displayed in the Navigation Pane, a 
particular date in the near future is just 
one click away no matter which type of 
calendar you're viewing in the main 
window. If you remember and like the 
TaskPad view instead, open the View 
menu and choose TaskPad. 

Just below the Date Navigator section 
are checkboxes for turning on and off 
views of other calendars accessible to 
your machine over a network. The Share 
My Calendar link lets you share your ap- 
pointments with co-workers, and an 
Open A Shared Calendar link makes it 
simple to add someone else's datebook 
to your own. 

Customize Your Contacts & Tasks 

Contacts and Tasks include revamped 
Navigation Pane areas where you can se- 
lect different views from the Current 
View list. Rather than dig through menus 
to find the most convenient way to list 
items, a series of radio buttons puts all of 
the built-in views front and center. Click 
each button to see which one works best 
for particular situations. Click the Cus- 
tomize Current View link, also in the 
Navigation Pane, to tweak an existing 
view to fit your needs. 

Keep Your Eyes Open 

Keep an eye on the Navigation Pane, 
and you will pretty much always know 
where you are in Outlook and how you 
can alter the current view to find the 
information you want, per 

by Alan Phelps 






PC Today / December 2004 49 




Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 










Track & Organize 
Email 

New Outlook 2003 Features Help You 
Sort Your Messages 




■ f you're like most 
people, you're liter- 
ally inundated with e- 
mail on a daily basis. Of 
course, some of it is un- 
solicited junk mail, but 
a lot of it is the email 
you receive from friends, 
family, or business associates, 
and keeping track of these mes- 
sages is important. If you've been 
using Outlook for a while, you're prob- 
ably familiar with the Organize tool, which 
has been around since Outlook 98 and pro- 
vides you with several features for organizing 
and keeping track of your email messages. 

For example, the Organize tool makes it easy 
for you to create separate folders for your email 
and set up message rules to automatically redirect 
messages to the appropriate folders upon arrival. 
Another feature of the Organize tool lets you 
automatically color code messages so you can 
quickly identify messages from certain people. 

Of course, the Organize tool is still available in 
Outlook 2003, and it even includes a few enhance- 
ments. However, Outlook 2003 also comes with 
several new features for tracking and organizing 
your email that you'll definitely want to 
know about. We'll introduce you to several 
of these new features and show you how 
you can use them to organize and keep 
track of your email messages. 

Arrange Your View 

The main organizational feature in 
Outlook 2003 is called an arrangement, 
which Microsoft describes as a predefined 
combination of grouped and sorted mes- 
sages in a table view. By default, Outlook 
2003 is configured to use the Date arrange- 
ment to view messages in the Inbox and 
any personal folders you create. However, 
the Date arrangement is only one of 13 



predefined arrangements you can use to 
organize your email messages. Of the 
various options, the Date and the Conver- 
sation arrangements are probably the 
most useful for most people. Let's take a 
closer look at these two arrangements. 

As its name implies, the Date arrange- 
ment is designed to group email messages 
by date, thus making it very easy to keep 
track of when you received each message. 
Outlook adds a set of collapsible date- 
related group headings to the list of email 
messages in your inbox and then orga- 
nizes the messages under these headings 
accordingly. Typical headings in the Date 
arrangement layout are Today, Yesterday, 
Last Week, Two Weeks Ago, Earlier This 
Month, Last Month, and Older. Within 
each of these groups, Outlook simplifies 
the display by removing unnecessary 
column headings and sorting the mes- 
sages by date and time. 

The Conversation arrangement makes 
it easy to track a series of messages from 
various participants on the same topic 
over the course of time. In this arrange- 
ment, which is also known as a message 







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50 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 







Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 












thread, Outlook creates group headings 
based on the subject field and then orga- 
nizes all the messages in the group 
according to who replied to whom, as 
well as the date and time. 

To change the arrangement, open the 
View menu and point to Arrange By. 
Click any of the arrangement options and 
Outlook immediately changes the order 
in which your email messages appear. 

Flag Important Messages 

To help you keep track of those email 
messages that contain important infor- 
mation, as well as those that are related 
to tasks that you need to follow up on, 
Outlook 2003 provides an enhanced 
Follow Up flag feature. Using this fea- 
ture, you can tag an email message with 
one of six different colored flags to 
highlight those messages you consider 
important. By default the flags aren't 
labeled, so you can decide for yourself 
what level of significance to attribute to 
each colored flag. 

To flag an email message, right-click 
the message, select Follow Up, and then 
select one of the available colored flags. 
Once you assign a flag to a message, the 
colored flag appears in the Flag Status 
column. After you've flagged your mes- 
sages, you can use the arrangement 
feature we mentioned previously to or- 
ganize your messages according to the 
flag color. 

In addition to assigning a colored flag 
to an email message, you configure a 
reminder to appear at a specific date and 
time to remind you to follow up on the 
message. To schedule a reminder, right- 
click an email message, select Follow 
Up, and click Add Reminder. In the Flag 
For Follow Up dialog box, select a flag 
color from the Flag Color drop-down 
menu. Next, select a date from the 




The Follow Up flag feature lets you use 
colored flags to highlight messages and 
schedule follow-up reminders. 



pop-up calendar that appears 
when you open the Due Date 
drop-down menu. Use the ad- 
jacent drop-down list to select 
a time. Click OK. 

Using Search Folders 

If you use folders to orga- 
nize your messages, chances 
are you've encountered situa- 
tions where one message 
could easily fit into two 
folders. On the other hand, 
you might have a situation where sepa- 
rate messages in two or more folders 
might also fit in another folder alto- 
gether. Fortunately, you can use Out- 
look 2003's Search Folders feature to 
create virtual folders that will dynami- 
cally scan all your folders for those mes- 
sages that meet your search criteria. 
Messages that match will be virtually 
copied to your Search Folder. The orig- 
inal messages remain intact in their 
original folders. 

The Search Folders feature offers sev- 
eral predefined Search Folder types that 
let you simply fill in text boxes associ- 
ated with the search criteria. In addition, 
you can create custom Search Folders 
from scratch. 

To create a Search Folder based on 
specific words in a message: 

1. Open the File menu, point to New, 
and select Search Folder. 

2. When the New Search Folder dialog 
box appears, scroll down the Select A 
Search Folder list and select Mail 
With Specific Words from the Orga- 
nizing Mail section. 

3. Click the Choose button in the Cus- 
tomize Search Folder area. 

4. In the Search Text dialog box, type the 
word(s) to search for in the empty field 
and click the Add button. (You can 
add as many words as you want.) 

5. Click OK to close the Search Text 
dialog box. 

6. Click OK to close the New Search 
Folder dialog box. 

Outlook will begin scanning all your 
folders and will instantly populate your 
Search Folder with messages that match 
your search criteria. 



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The Favorite Folders feature lets you easily monitor those 
folders you regularly check for new messages. 



Using Favorite Folders 

If you're using multiple folders along 
with Message Rules to automatically 
direct messages to the appropriate 
folders upon arrival, you probably have 
a set of folders that you regularly check 
for new messages. As such, you might 
want to consider making these folders 
easier to monitor by taking advantage of 
the Favorite Folders feature. 

To access Favorite Folders, click the 
Mail button in the Navigation Pane. The 
Navigation Pane splits into two sections 
displaying the Favorite Folders Pane 
on top of the All Mail Folders Pane. By 
default, Outlook populates Favorite 
Folders with virtual copies of a set of 
standard folders and some of the default 
Search Folders, but you can remove 
them and add your own set consisting of 
the folders that you check frequently. 

To remove default folders from the 
Favorite Folders Pane, right-click the 
folder and select Remove From Favorite 
Folders. To add a folder, right-click the 
folder and select Add To Favorite Fold- 
ers. Whenever you add or remove a fold- 
er, the original folder remains intact in 
the All Mail Folders pane. 

After you've added your folders to the 
Favorite Folders pane, you can organize 
them in any order you want simply by 
dragging a folder to a new position. 

Stay Organized 

As you can see, Outlook 2003 pro- 
vides you with a very valuable set of 
new organizational features that will 
help you to stay in control of your con- 
stantly growing email inbox. per 

by Greg Shultz 



PC Today / December 2004 51 




Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 






With the spam rate (percentage of 
emails sent) hovering around 65%, 
it's no wonder computer users are 
looking for easier and better ways to erad- 
icate these pesky, unwanted emails. 
Numerous companies offer software that 
promises to banish spam from your 
inbox, but you may not need to purchase 
a third-party solution. If you are using 
Office 2003, you already have a great 
spam fighter, Outlook 2003, installed on 
your system. 

Built-in Safeguards 

Outlook's antispamming technology 
has several components. During setup, it 
turns each of these components on at a 
basic level. 

Safe/Blocked Senders. During Setup, 
Outlook 2003 uses your Contacts list to 
create an internal list of allowed senders 
whose emails will pass through the spam 
filter without scrutiny. 

Email filtering. Outlook 2003 auto- 
matically turns on the Junk E-Mail Filter, 
setting its threshold to Low. Low is best 
for many users initially because it will 
minimize the occurrence of false posi- 
tives (good email erroneously marked as 
spam). By default, Outlook 2003 also 
blocks the download of pictures, sounds, 
and other content in HTML email 



Banish Junk Email 

Control Spam With Outlook 2003's 
Filtering Settings 



messages from unknown senders. (The 
program downloads content from 
people on your Contacts list or from 
sites in your Trusted zone). 

Tips & Tweaks 

For best results, you should tweak 
Outlook 2003 , s settings. To manage spam 
filtering, select the Junk E-mail option on 
Outlook 2003's Actions menu and choose 
Junk E-mail Options. 

Options tab. Outlook offers four junk 
email filtering settings: No Automatic 
Filtering (blocks only email messages 
from blocked senders), Low, High, and 
Safe Lists Only. High is your best option if 
you receive huge amounts of spam, and it 
is ideal for all users after the first few 
weeks of using Outlook 2003. If you select 
High, you should scroll through the Junk 
E-mail folder periodically to locate good 
email erroneously marked as spam. 

Safe Senders tab. Here, you can 
add senders not on your Contacts list 
to the list of Safe Senders. Additions can 
include an entire domain, such as sys- 
ters.org, which is nice if you receive 
email from a discussion group with a 
dedicated server. 

From this tab you can also disable the 
default setting in Outlook 2003 that 
makes all contacts safe senders. (Deselect 
the Also Trust E-mail From My Contacts 
checkbox.) This is an attractive option if 
you have an out-of-date Contacts lists 
filled with unwanted names. However, if 
you select this alternative, you must add 
all allowed senders back to your Safe 
Senders list or risk having them marked 
as spam. An easier option is to clean up 
your Contacts list on a regular basis. 

Safe Recipients tab. If you send email 
to trusted individuals who are not on 
your Contacts list, you can add them to 
your Safe Recipients list. 

Blocked Senders tab. Here you can 
add email addresses or domains for 



senders from whom you never want to 
receive email. You can add not only 
spammers, but also any individuals 
or companies who send you objection- 
able mail. 

Other settings. You can use Outlook's 
Options and Rules And Alerts settings to 
manage how the program processes 
email. To manage how Outlook 2003 han- 
dles content in HTML mail, select Options 
from the Tools menu and click the 
Security tab. Click the Change Automatic 
Download Settings button. You can adjust 
the default to have Outlook 2003 down- 
load all HTML content, or you can have it 
restrict content even from Safe Senders or 
sites in the Trusted Zone. 

Because Outlook 2003 processes rules 
before it filters junk email, you can use 
Rules And Alerts (on the Tools menu) to 
allow mail through that contains spe- 
cific words, even if the sender is un- 
known. For example, if you don't mind 
getting unsolicited offers for ink toner 
and cartridges, you could create a rule 
for these words. 

A Partial Solution 

Outlook 2003 has several drawbacks 
that may lead you to purchase a third- 
party solution. Outlook 2003 does not 
"learn" from emails you mark as spam, 
although it can add the names to your 
Blocked Senders list. Additionally, you 
cannot alter Outlook 2003's filtering para- 
meters. However, Microsoft tweaks these 
parameters periodically, so download 
Outlook 2003 updates for best results. 

Even with these weaknesses, Outlook 
2003 is a valuable addition to your 
spam-fighting arsenal. When paired 
with a clean Contacts list and a filter set- 
ting of High, it does a remarkably accu- 
rate job of discerning between good 
email and junk, pct 

by Jennifer Farwell 



52 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



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Cl'O Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 







Personal Library 




■ ■ 

■ ■ 

■ ■ 



n 

p or all the convenience 
r and power the Web 
delivers, the vastness of 
information available on- 
line can easily become 
overwhelming. In fact, 
sifting through hoards 
of sites for accurate in- 
formation can even be 
counterproductive 
because plenty of 
amateurish, ques- 
tionable sources 
abound across the 
Internet. This environ- 
ment often makes it 
difficult to find and use 
trustworthy information for our 
documents, spreadsheets, and other projects. 

Microsoft apparently understands this quan- 
dary because a new utility called the Research 
Library appears in most of the company's Office 
2003 applications, and it is aimed squarely at 
saving us time and trouble when searching for 
definitions, financial data, historical informa- 
tion, and other topics we may be researching. 
Although the Research Library doesn't quite 
offer a traditional library at our fingertips (espe- 
cially because you have to pay for much of the in- 
formation), it does help to transfer sources of 
useful, accurate information directly into our ap- 
plications for easy referencing and fact-checking. 

Ready Research 

Integrated into the Microsoft Office 2003 ver- 
sions of Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and 
Publisher, the Research Library interface of- 
fers access to a wealth of useful resources. For 
starters, language tools include the Encarta 
English dictionary; a thesaurus; and translation 
services for French, German, Spanish, Italian, 
Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Dutch, Greek, Por- 
tuguese, and Russian. 

The Research Library also provides standard 
Web searching via the integrated MSN Search 
engine, and believe it or not, viewing results in 



Use Microsoft's Powerful Research Tool 
To Boost Your Work 



the smallish pane are actually quite effec- 
tive thanks to the tool's site descriptions 
accompanying the URLs. Also available 
are stock quotes from MSN Money and 
company profiles from Thomson Gale. 

There are also premium services avail- 
able. If you're willing to pay the fees for 
these services, you can get access to such 
resources as eLibrary, a massive archive 
consisting of more than 32 million docu- 
ments from more than 2,800 sources, in- 
cluding newspapers, magazines, journals, 
transcripts, books, images, maps, ency- 
clopedias, dictionaries, and almanacs. 

Other premium services include the 
Encarta English encyclopedia, as well as 
Factiva iWorks, a huge collection of news- 
papers and newswires that puts recent 
news at your fingertips. Also available is 
FindLaw (a comprehensive directory of 
lawyers and law firms), LexisNexis (for 
legal content, public records, and business 
information), Ovid (for medical content), 
and Safari HelpDesk Online (a library of 
books on Microsoft Office and related 
subjects). For more information on any of 
these services, click the Get Services On 
Office Marketplace link at the bottom of 
the Research pane. 

The Research Library loads with a set 
of default resources, but if you need in- 
formation from sites based in different 
countries or languages, you can easily 
add those. Simply click Research Options 
at the bottom of the Research pane, select 
a new service, and click OK. 

Enter The Library 

Accessing the Research Library in any 
supported Office application is a snap 
because Microsoft did a fine job of inte- 
grating the tool for seamless information 
searching. To launch the Research Library 
in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Pub- 
lisher, open the Tools menu and click Re- 
search. You can use the same procedure to 



54 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 






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Thanks to the Research pane's flexibility, you can expand or 
contract the window as necessary, which is particularly useful 
when viewing research results. 



open the utility in Outlook, but you can 
do it only when reading or composing an 
email message. You can also launch the 
Research pane by right-clicking a word 
and clicking Look Up, or by selecting a 
word and using a hotkey combination, 
such as SHIFT-F7 for the thesaurus. If you 
open the utility by right-clicking a word, 
Research Library returns results using the 
service you last used. You can also press 
and hold the ALT key and click a word to 
open the Research pane. Finally, you can 
also open the Research Library by clicking 
its icon on the Standard toolbar — the icon 
features a picture of a set of reference 
books with a magnifying glass. 

When the Research pane opens, Office 
automatically places it on the right side of 
the program window. This location works 
well for many users, but if you want to 
move it, click and hold the four dots on 
the Research title bar and drag the pane to 
a new location. The pane will snap into 
place on the left or top of the window, or 
you can leave it floating. 

When you find a comfortable spot for 
the pane, you can click and drag the 
border facing the program window to 
widen or narrow the Research pane. De- 
pending on the type of research you're 
performing at any given moment, you 
might find it's necessary to regularly alter 
the size of the Research pane because re- 
sults from some sources, such as the ency- 
clopedia, fare better in wide windows 
than those that appear adequately in 
narrow windows, such as the thesaurus. 

Because the Research Library uses the 
Internet for some of its content, you'll 



need an active online con- 
nection to take full ad- 
vantage of the research 
tools. If you're not con- 
nected, you'll have access 
only to the thesaurus and 
bilingual dictionary. 

Get To Work 

The Research Library 
acts as a minibrowser 
that's easy to navigate 
and understand. At the 
top of the pane you'll see 
navigation buttons that 

let you move between 

searches and a Home button that brings 
up the Microsoft Office Online tool. To 
perform a search, simply type a word or 
phrase into the Search For field and then 
click the drop-down menu beneath that 
field to select a research source. 

If you want results from multiple 
sources, select All Reference Books, All 
Research Sites, or All Business And Fi- 
nancial Sites. If you know exactly the 
source you need, select only that source. 

After you select a source, the Research 
Library automatically runs the search 
and displays the results below, grouped 
according to source. For example, if you 
search for a word using All Reference 
Books, the pane expands the dictionary 
results, but if you want to see the the- 
saurus or translation results, simply click 
the plus (+) sign beside either source. To 
hide content from any source, just click 
the minus (-) sign beside its title. 

Results from the reference books ap- 
pear in the Research pane. When you run 
a search using Research Sites, results ap- 
pear with a subject, a description, and 
a link that points to the source. Many of 
these results require subscriptions to the 
premium services, but some of the articles 
won't cost you anything to read. To deter- 
mine whether content requires a fee, look 
at the link beneath an entry. If you see an 
icon with paper bills and coins, then you 
need to pay to read the content. 

When you follow one of the links to 
the Web, the page should automatically 
open in your default browser. If you're 
using Internet Explorer 5.01 or later, the 
Research pane will follow you there, 



appearing within the IE window. This is 
handy if you want to inspect more than 
one link the Research Library returns 
because then you won't need to return to 
the originating Office application. 

To use the Translation tool, you'll need 
to enter a word in the Search For field and 
then select From and To entries from the 
drop-down menus in the Translation box. 
The dictionaries on your computer can 
translate single words or short phrases, 
but if you want to translate an entire 
document, you'll need to connect to the 
Internet and click the Translate Whole 
Document option. 



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1§ Chinese Dynasties 
a Founder of the Ming dynasty 

■: ■ ■■ '''■::....' • ' '■•,: •. ■■.:•■■■. ...... .. : ,..\ 

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[ ~~3\rticle— Enlarta Encyclopedia 
Ming djrnasty in Chinese history 
Found in the China article 
Article— Encarta Encyclopedia 
Q Ming period in Chinese art and architecture 
Found in the Chinese Art and Architecture article 
.. 
d Ming Dynasty 

Map from Encarta Encyclopedia 



; 



If you're not sure whether a source requires 
a fee, see if this icon appears beside the 
link. If it does, you will need to pay to 
read the information. 



Use It Often 

The more you use the Research 
Library, the more you'll appreciate its 
ability to lend ideas, accuracy, and con- 
tent to your work. You'll also learn to 
take advantage of the tool's flexibility. 
For example, the Back and Forward but- 
tons at the top of the pane will save as 
many as 10 of your previous searches, 
which can save you time if you conduct 
repetitive searches. Also, you can open 
multiple Research panes by opening 
more than one Word document or Excel 
spreadsheet, or files in other Office pro- 
grams. Don't waste time hunting for 
information on the Web — make the Re- 
search Library do it for you. per 



by Christian Perry 



PC Today / December 2004 55 



XjP Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 




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Read, Compare & 
■ Merge Documents 

Give Word 2003's Reading Layout View A Try 



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The Thumbnails option in Reading Layout provides a 
quick way for navigating a document. 




ord 2003 focuses 
a few modest im- 
provements on the grow- 
ing segment of users who 
collaborate with others to 
read, share, and revise 
documents on-screen long 
before toner hits paper. 
It's now easier for you to 
compare and merge docu- 
ments, and your screen-weary 
eyeballs can find relief in a new 
Reading Layout view. 



W^ Reading Layout 

Reading Layout might sound like more than 
it really is; some users may consider it as a solu- 
tion in search of a problem. Whether you come to 
appreciate Reading Layout or wonder why it ex- 
ists, it's worth a try the next time you find yourself 
scrolling through a long document. 

The Reading Layout view adds an- 
other option to Word's standard 
Normal, Print Layout, and Web Layout 
views. Open up any old document; 
something more than a few pages long 
will provide a better test. Switch to 
Reading Layout by clicking the Read 
button (the button in the main toolbar 
that looks like an open book). By de- 
fault, you'll find it at the far right of 
the toolbar. The Reading Layout button 
is also tucked away in the View menu. 
Keyboard enthusiasts can switch to 
Reading Layout by pressing ALT-R 
from any other view. 

Reading Layout looks something 

like the Print Preview or Print Layout 
views, but it is optimized for on-screen reading 
rather than for the printed page. The program 
displays what appears to be an entire page of text, 
floating against a gray backdrop. Word hides 
most of the toolbars you normally see and 
replaces them with a special Reading Layout 
toolbar and a Reviewing toolbar. The Reading 



Layout view also displays all text using 
Microsoft ClearType whether you have 
that Windows feature turned on or not. 
Finally, you can quickly change the size 
of the text Reading Layout displays 
without altering the font size of the ac- 
tual text in the document. 

One thing that you'll immediately no- 
tice in Reading Layout view is that page 
breaks are completely different from 
other views. The pages Word puts to- 
gether for the Reading Layout are 
designed to fit on your screen at a com- 
fortable font size. They have little rela- 
tion to the actual pages you would see if 
you printed the document on paper. If 
you want to see where page breaks actu- 
ally lie, you need to click the Actual Page 
button on the Reading Layout toolbar. 
The button resembles a small piece of 
paper with, perhaps, a picture on it. 

Leave the Reading Layout view by 
clicking another layout type in the View 
menu or using the Close button on the 
Reading toolbar. You can also press ESC 
for a finger-quick transition. 

Most Word commands work the same 
way in reading view as in any other view. 
Position your pointer anywhere on-screen 
and click your mouse, and you see your 
old pal the cursor appear for normal word 
processing functions. With the Reviewing 
toolbar close at hand, you can easily read 
and mark up documents from the same 
view. Navigate a document quickly with 
the Thumbnails button, which works sim- 
ilarly to the thumbnails function in Adobe 
Reader, providing small representations 
of each page of the document. 

Not So Fast 

Whether the Reading Layout view ac- 
complishes much on your particular 
system depends on how you use Word 
and whether the new view seems all that 



56 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Ci'J Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 



different from any other view. For ex- 
ample, a larger monitor can display text 
at easy-to-read sizes no matter what 
view you use. 

You will also find that Reading Layout 
does a poor job displaying documents 
with more complex formatting. WordArt, 
text embedded in graphics, or text in 
tables does not resize the same way as 
plain paragraphs. Columns also do not 
appear in Reading Layout view, which 
transforms everything into plain text. 

Reading Layout's repagination can 
also cause havoc if you are trying to 
move through a document with someone 
else who is looking at it in print or in an- 
other on-screen view. Your page 10 will 
not necessarily look anything like page 
10 on paper, and it isn't easy to figure 
out where the real page 10 is without 
switching on the Actual Page option. 

Most frustrating was the way scrolling 
works in Reading Layout view for those 
of us who like to navigate using the 
scroll button on our mouse. Because the 
Reading Layout view displays entire 
pages at a time, a nudge of the scroll 
wheel flips through more text than you 
might imagine. You can lose your place 
in text easily, even when the same scroll 
settings do not seem overly touchy in 
other programs. 

When viewing documents you receive 
as email attachments, the program auto- 
matically switches to the Reading Layout 
view. If you'd prefer Word documents 
that arrive as email attach- 
ments to open in a more tradi- 
tional layout, click Options in 
Word's Tools menu and select 
the General tab. Deselect the 
Allow Starting In Reading Lay- 
out checkbox and click OK. 



Compare & Contrast 

Reading documents often 
leads to comparing documents. 
Word 2003 and Excel 2003 in- 
clude a new tool that lets you 
look at two documents side-by- 
side. The Compare Side By 
Side command is different from 
the Compare command in 
older Word versions that let 
you automatically highlight 



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The Merge command will take two or more 
versions of a document with comments from 
various reviews and combine everything into a 
single file for easier editing. 

differences between documents. The 
Compare option is still available under 
the Tools menu; we'll explore that more in 
the next section. To learn more about the 
Compare Side By Side feature, read on. 

First, open the documents that you 
want to compare; you need to open both 
of them for the Compare Side By Side 
command to work properly. In one of the 
documents, open the Window menu, se- 
lect Compare Side By Side With X, where 
X is the name of the other document. If 
you have more than two documents 
open, a small menu of file names appears 
from which you can choose the correct 
document. Word then resizes the two 
document windows so each document 
takes up exactly half of the screen. 




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A small Compare Side By Side toolbar 
appears near the bottom of one of the doc- 
uments. The three buttons control how 
Compare Side By Side works. By default, 
the first button, Synchronous Scrolling, is 
turned on. If you scroll in one of the docu- 
ments, the other document scrolls by 
exactly the same amount. Click the button 
to turn off the lockstep scroll. The second 
button resets the two side-by-side screens 
if you manually altered their positioning 
and want to go back to the split-screen 
view. A third button closes the Compare 
Side By Side feature and sends both of the 
documents to their original screen posi- 
tioning and window size. 

All Together 

The more familiar, automatic Com- 
pare option does a bit more than scroll 
two windows at once. Compare and its 
associate, Merge, are used most often 
when the author of a draft receives com- 
ments from one or more reviewers. 

To merge two versions of a document, 
open one of them and click the Tools 
menu. Choose Compare And Merge Doc- 
uments. A standard open file dialog box 
appears. Navigate to the other version of 
the document and highlight it. Click the 
small down arrow next to the Merge 
button to choose exactly how you want 
the merge to work. Just clicking Merge 
opens the other version of the document 
with any changes indicated. Merge Into 
Current Document causes changes to 
show up in the file you already 
have open. The last choice, 
Merge Into New Document, 
creates a new window that you 
can save independently of any 
pre-existing version. 

Both Compare Side By Side 
and the Compare And Merge 
commands can work within 
the Reading Layout view. 
Some users might spend a lot 
of time with the reading view 
switched on as they share 
early drafts of documents 
when formatting is not yet 
much of a concern. Just go 
easy on the scrolling, per 



Use Compare Side By Side to scroll through two versions of the same 
document as you scan for changes. 



by Alan Phelps 



PC Today / December 2004 57 



Cl*J Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 




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Manage Related 
* Information 



View Multiple Lists Using 
Excel 2003's List Function 



Excel 2003's new List 
command gives you 
the power to analyze 
spreadsheet data in dif- 
ferent ways. There's no 
need to write up new 
spreadsheets or move 
your numbers around every 
time you want to see your 
numbers in a new light. 
The List function is a way to 
quickly sort or filter columns. It also 
lets you generate totals or averages with- 
out much effort. Although a list looks just 
like any data neatly organized into rows and 
columns, drop-down menus that appear auto- 
matically let you sort data in ascending or de- 
scending order; customize the order in which 
data appears; sort data by total values; filter 
data and display only the information that 
meets specific criteria and more while leaving 
the rest of the data untouched. In an added 
bonus, Excel 2003 handily juggles multiple lists 
within the same worksheet, which gives you 
considerable flexibility. 

For example, imagine you're a do-it-your- 
selfer who wants to track your home renovation 
costs in a standard Excel worksheet. You've cre- 
ated columns for the various rooms you are re- 
modeling, along with columns for Date, Store, 
and Item. You will enter the cost of each item 
into the appropriate room's column. Perhaps 
you want to separate out the Home Depot costs 
from the Frager's Hardware costs and analyze 
each individually. If you make this data into a 
list, you can easily perform this task. 

Create A List 

To create a list within an existing worksheet, 
click anywhere inside the data. From the main 
menu bar, open the Data menu, select List, and 
click Create List. In the Create List dialog box, 
Excel will show the range it thinks applies in the 



Where is the data for your list? 



My list has headers 

| OK [ Cancel 



Double-check the 
range for your 
newly created list. 



Where Is The Data For Your List? field. 
Check its accuracy; if you need to adjust 
it, type in a new formula. Alternately, 
you can highlight the cells you want to 
make up the new list and then access the 
Create List dialog box. 

In our example we already have 
column headers, so we selected the My 
List Has Headers box. If you don't al- 
ready have headers, you would leave 
this checkbox unselected and Excel 
would create numbered columns for 
you at the top of your list. Click OK and 
Excel creates the new List. 

List Displays 

Once Excel creates the list, you'll im- 
mediately notice some changes in the 
display. Excel displays the List toolbar, 
AutoFilter arrows appear next to the 
column headers, a blue border sur- 
rounds the data, and at the bottom of the 
list is an asterisk (*). 

List toolbar. If this toolbar doesn't ap- 
pear, go to the View menu, select Tool- 
bars, and click List. Some of the buttons 
on the toolbar provide SharePoint func- 
tionality, which lets you publish to a 
server that is running Microsoft Win- 
dows SharePoint Services. 

The two most important buttons on 
this toolbar are List and Toggle Total 
Row. The List button offers a drop-down 
menu of other options that let you insert 
or delete rows and columns; sort your 
list; Convert To Range, which removes 
all list features and restores the data back 
to a regular Excel worksheet; and more. 



58 December 2004 / www.pctoday.c 



Cl*J Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 






The List toolbar is where you can 
find the Toggle Row button. Click 
this button to add a variety of 
functions to your data. 

The Toggle Total Row button auto- 
matically totals the last column in the 
list, regardless of which list cell you 
have selected at the time. Excel adds an 
additional row with the word "Total" 
displayed and then the sum in the last 
column. If you see a series of pound 
signs (#####) instead, double-click the 
boundary line to the right of the column 
heading and widen it. 

If this last column contains something 
other than values, Excel defaults to dis- 
play the total number of items in the last 
column instead. In addition to dis- 
playing the sum, Excel offers a drop- 
down arrow for the total with additional 
functions, such as Average, Min, Max, 
and Sum. Although the Toggle Total 
Row button only controls the last cell, 
once you click it you can access these 
drop-down menu features in any 
column; just click the blank cell at the 
bottom of the column and click the 
drop-down menu that appears. You can 
turn off the total simply by clicking the 
Toggle Total Row button again. 

AutoFilter. Excel enables AutoFilter 
arrows for every column in the header 
row. These filters let you sort or filter 
data quickly, using any of the com- 
mands in the drop-down menu. For ex- 
ample, from the Date header you can 
sort your purchases in chronological 
order by clicking Sort Ascending. If you 
want to sort the contents of more than 
one column at once, use the Sort com- 
mand found under the Data menu to 
open the Sort dialog box, which offers 
even more options. 

Filtering is equally simple. If you want 
to see all the purchases from Frager's 



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Use AutoFilter's Custom AutoFilter dialog 
box to filter according to specific amounts. 



Hardware, click the 
AutoFilter button and 
choose Frager's from 
the available names. 
Excel displays only 
those filtered rows 
with Frager's informa- 
tion, for all columns 
in the list. When you 
finish analyzing that 
data, click All from 
the AutoFilter menu 
to display the com- 
plete worksheet again. 
If you find the AutoFilter arrows dis- 
tracting, you can hide them. Open the 
Data menu, choose Filter, and then 
click AutoFilter. To reveal the arrows, 
repeat this step. 

The AutoFilter feature also offers 
custom filter functionality. For example, 
if you want to see all the Plumbing ex- 
penses that cost more than $25, click the 
arrow next to Plumbing and choose 
Custom. In the Custom AutoFilter dia- 
log box, select Is Greater Than from the 
drop-down menu for Plumbing. In the 
field to the immediate right, type 25 and 
click OK. Excel filters the list to display 
only the Plumbing costs that are in ex- 
cess of $25. As before, you need to return 
to the AutoFilter arrow and choose All to 
restore all data. 

Border patrol. When you create a 
list, Excel encloses the selected data 
within a dark blue border. This border 
distinguishes the list from the remain- 
ing data. When you select a cell, row, 
or column outside of the list, the list 
becomes inactive and the dark border 
changes to lighter blue. The AutoFilter 
arrows also disappear. If you want to 
hide the border, open the Data menu, 
select List, and click Hide Border Of 
Inactive Lists. 

Asterisk to add. Once you create 
your list, Excel displays an asterisk in 
the empty bottom row. This row is the 
insert row; type information here and 
Excel automatically adds another empty 
row beneath and extends the dark blue 
border. The asterisk appears in the new 
row. If your list does not expand, go to 
the Tools menu and click AutoCorrect 
Options. Select the AutoFormat As You 





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Excel sets lists apart with a dark blue border and other visible features. 



Type tab and select the Include New 
Rows And Columns In List checkbox. 

There are other ways to add rows 
also. If the Total row does not display, 
type in an empty row adjacent to the list 
and Excel automatically expands. An- 
other method is to click and drag the 
list's lower-right corner. 

Other features. To add a column to 
the list, type in the first empty column to 
the right of the list and press ENTER. 
Excel instantly expands the list to include 
that new column. You can also adjust the 
list size by dragging the resize handle lo- 
cated in the list's bottom corner. 

You may later decide some rows or 
columns are no longer necessary. To 
delete a row, click its first cell. On the 
List toolbar, click List, select Delete, 
and click Row. To delete a column, the 
steps are similar; just start in the 
column's first cell. 

Return To The Familiar 

When you've exhausted the list's use- 
fulness, you can remove the list functions 
and return to the regular old Excel work- 
sheet. Nothing will happen to the data, 
but the dark blue border and other hall- 
marks of the List function will disappear. 

Click inside the list to activate it 
again. Return to the List toolbar and 
click the List button. Choose Convert To 
Range. Excel prompts you to confirm 
that you want to convert the data to a 
normal range. Click Yes. 

With a little practice, Excel's List func- 
tion will help you analyze grouped data 
easily and efficiently, per 



by Anne Steyer Phelps 



PC Today / December 2004 59 



Ci*3 Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 




Master Smart Tags 

Improved For Office 2003 



In the same way that 




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you can quickly get an 
order at the drive-through 
of your favorite fast food 
joint, Word 2003 includes 
a feature that enables you 
to view (and use com- 
mands from) other Office 
programs — or even Web 
sites — without ever leav- 
ing the Word window. 
This feature is called 
Smart Tags. 

In fact, you have probably 
heard the term smart tags but 
were puzzled about what they actu- 
ally were. WeTl take some of the mys- 



Person: Mate 5un 
Send Mail 

Schedule a Meeting 
Orjen Contact 
Add to Contacts 
Insert Address 



Smart Tag Opt' 






D 



I W A 

I 
■ 
I 
I 
I 



tery out of this feature and help you learn 

the basics of using it. 

Microsoft launched Smart Tags in Office 2002, 
but weTl use Office 2003 as the basis for the infor- 
mation in this article because the 2003 version 
gives more options to users. (However, smart tags 
operate essentially the same in both versions.) 

Get Smart 

Before you start using smart tags, weTl go over 
the essentials: what they are and how they work. 
A smart tag is simply a section of text in your 
document that Word recognizes and labels as a 
particular type of data. When text, a date, or 
number is marked as a smart tag, Word knows 
that it can have certain actions associated with it. 
After Word assigns a smart tag to text, you can 
choose from a list of related actions. 

Word automatically pairs different types of 
smart tags with different actions and Office pro- 
grams. For example, if you type a person's name in 
a Word document, you can assign an action to it, 
such as adding the name to Outlook as a contact. 

Additionally, by default certain types of smart 
tags are active in Word. You can view which ones 

are already turned on by choosing 

Tools and AutoCorrect Options. In 
the AutoCorrect dialog box, click 
the Smart Tags tab. First check that 
the Label Text With Smart Tags box 
is selected; this turns on or off the 



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Word can recog in your document, 
type, you can pr- viti that data, 


ecognized 


■ . . : ,' v, ■ 






^ognizers: 






Date (Smart tag lists) 

Financial Symbol (Smart tag lists) 

Person Name (English) 

Place (English) 

Telephone Number (Smart tag lists) 

Time (Smart tag lists) 


| Properties,,, | 












Recheck Document ] [ More Smart Tags... 


] 










Save Options,,, 


1 


Show S buttons 










OK f Cancel 1 



You can control which types of smart 
tags are turned on (or off) by using the 
AutoCorrect dialog box. 

Smart Tag feature. Next, you can choose 
the specific smart tags you want to use. 
To do this, scan the list of Recognizers, 
which represent the various types of 
smart tags available in Word. You can 
turn smart tags on or off by checking or 
clearing the box for each type on this list. 
Notice that there are two smart tag types 
associated with names: those that are in- 
cluded in Outlook's Address Book 
(Person Name [Outlook E-mail Recip- 
ient]) and those that are not (Person 
Name [English]). For this article, you 
should turn on both options. Also turn 
on the Date smart tag. When you're fin- 
ished activating smart tags, click OK. 

Whenever you enter names or dates, 
Word will automatically assign the appro- 
priate smart tag to it and mark it by 
placing a purple dotted line, called the 
smart tag indicator, beneath the data. To 
use the smart tag, rest your mouse pointer 
over the purple dotted line until a Smart 
Tag Actions button (shown by an "i") 



■■ : -mber 24, 2004 

• i a Meeting 
> Calendar 



Remove this Smart Tag 

Stop Recognizing "September 24. 2004" 



To see information and actions 
associated with a smart tag, click 
the purple i. Here, we can 
schedule a meeting for Sept. 24, 
2004, in Microsoft Outlook. 



60 December 2004 / www.pctoday.c 



Ci*3 Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 



appears. All you have to do is click the 
button to see the actions that are associ- 
ated with the text. 

The Name Game 

One of the two most commonly used 
smart tags is the Name tag. Word has a 
great memory for names, or at least any- 
thing it interprets as a name. To practice 
using a name smart tag, type the name of 
one of your Outlook contacts, making 
sure to initially capitalize each word. 
Press ENTER, and Word automatically in- 
serts the smart tag purple underlining. 

Now you're ready to use the smart tag 
as a launch pad for performing actions. 
First, assuming that the person is listed as 
a contact in Outlook's Address Book, you 
can send the person a message by clicking 
the Smart Tag Actions button and then 
choosing Send Mail from the shortcut 
menu. The email address associated with 
the person's name is inserted as the recip- 
ient in the Outlook message window; you 
can then add the subject and body for the 
message before sending it. 

You can also use a smart tag action to 
add the person to Outlook as an email 
contact. To do this, click the Smart Tag 
Actions button for the person's name and 
choose Add To Contacts. A window 
opens so that you can enter information 
about the contact. On the other hand, if the 
name is already associated with contact in- 
formation, you can instead click Open 
Contact on the Smart Tag Actions menu 
and then view or revise the person's data. 

Have A Date 

Another commonly used smart tag 
type is that associated with dates. In 
fact, Word interprets several date for- 
mats (such as "December 25, 2004," 
"12/25/04," and "12/25/2004") as smart 
tags. Word places the usual purple 
dotted line beneath the date, indicating 
that it is a smart tag. Click the Smart Tag 
Actions button to display your choices. If 
you click Schedule A Meeting, Outlook's 
Calendar will open a window so that 
you can enter information about the 
meeting. Another helpful option is to 
choose Show My Calendar from the 
Smart Tag Actions button, which opens 
the Calendar to the indicated date. 



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Spread your wings: Find additional smart tags online. 



For example, perhaps you've just re- 
ceived a report about a project. The re- 
port lists several deadlines, each of which 
is marked by Word as a date smart tag. 
You can then choose the Show My Cal- 
endar action for each of the marked 
dates, allowing you to quickly double- 
check the dates for possible conflicts that 
you have recorded in your calendar. 

Right Down The Line 

After you get the hang of how Smart 
Tags works, you may find the dotted 
purple lines used as smart tag indicators 
marginally annoying. Because the dis- 
play of the smart tag indicator operates 
independently from the feature itself, 
you can turn off its display but still view 
the Smart Tag Actions button. 

To remove the purple line's display 
from all the smart tags in your docu- 
ment, choose Tools and Options and, in 
the Options dialog box, click the View 
tab. In the Show area, clear the Smart 
Tags box. And even though you have 
turned off the smart tag indicator, you 
can still display the Smart Tag Actions 
button by resting your mouse pointer 
over any text labeled as a smart tag. 

Remove Smart Tags 

Instead of just suppressing the display 
of the purple smart tag indicator, you can 
completely remove smart tags from your 



document. This is usually a good idea if 
you don't use the feature or if file size is 
a concern; it does take some storage space 
to keep track of all those smart tags, after 
all. To turn off an individual smart tag, 
choose Remove This Smart Tag on the list 
of actions. To remove all the current 
smart tags in your document, choose 
Tools and AutoCorrect Options and then 
click the Smart Tags tab. Click the button 
for Remove Smart Tags. Click Yes to con- 
firm your action. Although the dialog box 
warns that you can't undo this action, 
you actually can. To do this, choose Tools 
and AutoCorrect Options, select the 
Smart Tags tab, click the Recheck Doc- 
ument button, click Yes to confirm, and 
click OK. 

Get Even Smarter 

Finally, if you feel limited by the de- 
fault smart tags Word provides, you can 
find and download additional ones from 
the Internet. Most of the smart tags are 
available for a cost from third-party ven- 
dors. To locate additional smart tags, 
choose Tools and AutoCorrect Options. 
Click the Smart Tags tab and then click 
More Smart Tags. With an active Internet 
connection, Microsoft's Office Online site 
will display and list additional smart tags 
you can purchase and download, per 

by Linda Bird 



PC Today / December 2004 61 



Ci*3 Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 




Work With XML 

XML and Microsoft Office 2003 



Technology generates 
an endless proces- 
sion of buzzwords and 
acronyms. XML (Exten- 
sible Markup Language) 
is a relatively new entry, 
one that's often thrown 
around by software de- 
velopers. Many devel- 
opers promise support 
for XML, and others say 
XML is one of their pro- 
duct's native file formats. 

What Is XML? 

XML was originally designed to 

improve the functionality of the Web by 

providing a flexible, adaptable method for 

sharing richly structured documents. XML is 
called "extensible" because it allows customization 
of the markup language. Because of the ease with 
which you can customize an XML file's data struc- 
ture for a specific use, XML is most often used as a 
general data exchange format. 

The W3C (www.w3c.org), the same consortium 
that oversees the HTML standard (and many other 
standards used on the Web), maintains the XML 
standard. XML is a subset of an existing markup 
language called SGML (Standard Generalized 
Markup Language). SGML, an international stan- 
dard for defining the description of the structures 
of electronic documents, is a very large, complex, 
and powerful markup language that governments, 
heavy industry, and businesses have used for 
more than a decade. 

More than tags. XML uses tags to identify spe- 
cific elements in a document. HTML doesn't iden- 
tify what a document's content means, only how it 
displays. For example, an HTML page that pro- 
vides information about a product would use tags 
to define the size and style of the text. There 
wouldn't be any tags to define a section of text as 
the product's name, or a group of numbers as the 
product's price. 

XML doesn't care what a document looks like; 
instead, it's concerned with what its content 
means. If our example page was stored as an XML 
document, there would be XML tags for the 



product's name, price, and description. 
XML provides a standard way to define a 
tag and its relationship to a document. 
There are no predefined tags, so XML is 
extremely flexible and usable for almost 
any type of document. 

The schema of things. Because there 
are no predefined tags, a document's 
structure must be defined somewhere. 
The most common method is the XML 
schema. Schemas define the tags in a doc- 
ument, as well as the rules for applying 
the tags. Schemas can also aid in vali- 
dating the data in a document. If a 
schema defines a price tag as only con- 
taining numbers, a price tag that contains 
text would be flagged as an error. 

Schemas are created by individuals, or- 
ganizations, companies, application de- 
velopers, or even industries to help 
ensure the easy exchange of data within a 
common field. The schema designer de- 
cides what information it needs captured 
to the XML file. In essence, the schema is a 
template for the structure of the XML 
data. The resulting XML file is continually 
reused by applications that need some or 
all of the data defined by the schema. 

So, What Can You Do With XML? 

Today, XML is most often used for ex- 
changing or sharing data between dis- 
parate systems because it easily solves 
the problem of cross-platform compati- 
bility. It's not necessary for both plat- 
forms to use the same application. This 
means that you can use a Microsoft Word 
XML document created on a Windows 
XP system on a Linux system that has an 
application that can understand the docu- 
ment's XML schema. The application 
needn't be Word or even a word pro- 
cessor. It can be any application that can 
capture the data contained within the 
XML document. 

XML allows you to reuse data in the 
appropriate format, based on where 
you need it. You could use a single XML 



62 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



O^ Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 



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we see how the Price tag is tied to a cell in the workbook. 



document in a spreadsheet application 
by the accounting group to calculate en- 
gineering costs, in a database program 
by the procurement group to purchase 
the necessary components, and in a 
word processor by a product engineer to 
document in-progress changes. XML's 
flexibility is limited only by an applica- 
tion's ability to process XML files and 
understand custom schemas. 

Not All Offices Are Created Equal 

Office 2003 is available in several edi- 
tions: Student And Teacher, Standard, 
Small Business, Professional, and 
Professional Enterprise. In all editions, 
Word and Excel can save files in the re- 
spective program's native XML file 
format. Using the Office 2003 XML 
Reference Schemas, you can search, con- 
vert, and read the native XML Office for- 
mats using any application that can 
process XML with custom schemas. But 
you must have the Professional or 
Professional Enterprise edition to use and 
create custom XML schemas and to get 
the most out of the XML capabilities of 
the Office 2003 applications. 

To make it easier to create custom XML 
schemas, the Professional and Profes- 
sional Enterprise editions contain addi- 
tional XML tools and utilities. 

Microsoft Office & XML 

Recent editions of Microsoft Office in- 
clude support for XML. Office still sup- 
ports the proprietary formats of its 
various applications, allowing the ex- 
isting base of Office users to easily ex- 
change data. But Microsoft has pushed 



forward its commitment to XML by not 
only giving many Office applications the 
ability to save and read XML files but 
also by publishing the XML schemas 
used in Office 2003 versions of Word, 
Excel, InfoPath, and Visio. This allows 
other developers to create applications 
that can exchange data with Office 2003. 

The Office 2003 XML Reference 
Schemas are available for downloading at 
www.microsoft.com/downloads. (Just do 
a search for "XML Reference Schemas/') 

How Office programs interact with 
XML. Word 2003 supports Word's native 
DOC file format, native XML, and custom 
XML schemas. For the DOC and XML file 
formats, Word uses its own schema to 
preserve a Word document, including for- 
matting, hyperlinks, headings, and tables. 
Its support for custom schemas allows 
Word to preserve or extract from an XML 
document only the elements of interest as 
defined by the schema. 

When saving a Word document that 
uses a custom schema, Word attaches 
both the default Word schema and the 
custom schema, ensuring that the data 
specified in the custom schema and the 
formatting information defined in the 
Word schema are preserved. You can 
also save a Word document using only 
the custom schema or store XML data in 
Word templates (DOT files), although 
only Word is able to process the em- 
bedded XML data. 

Excel 2003 supports Excel's native 
data format (XLS), as well as XML 
spreadsheet format (XML), which uses 
Excel's own schema to apply XML tags 
that store information and define the 



structure of the workbook. You can use 
custom XML schemas by creating a new 
workbook and attaching a custom 
schema to it. 

Access 2003 allows you to extract data 
from one or more tables and export the 
information as XML data. You can im- 
port XML data into an Access table 
using an XML schema definition or an 
XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language 
Transformation). XSLTs are style sheets 
that define how you can convert XML 
data into other forms of data; in this 
case, Access table data. 

FrontPage 2003 can create and edit 
Web pages that connect to a variety of 
data sources, including XML files. You 
can create XSLTs using an included 
graphics editor that controls how data is 
displayed. You can use XSLTs to create 
specific Web views of the XML data, in- 
cluding sorting, grouping, filtering, and 
conditional formatting. 

InfoPath 2003 supports complex form 
creation, using custom XML schemas. 
You can create forms that support pre- 
tagging (which is assigning a specific 
form's field to an XML schema element). 
When the form is completed, the XML 
data is generated. 

InfoPath allows you to associate XSLT 
style sheets with a form's design, en- 
abling end users to view and edit XML 
forms. XML schemas used with InfoPath 
have full support for structuring and 
validating any data entered or processed 
by InfoPath. You can attach multiple 
schemas to a form to allow multiple 
views of the same data within InfoPath. 

Visio 2003 can save diagrams as Visio 
XML files. Visio allows you to associate 
XML data with specific shapes or dia- 
gram elements. You can also attach 
custom XML schemes to files for easy 
data mining from a diagram. 

A Flexible Standard 

XML's chief strength is its lack of pre- 
defined tags or semantics. It allows 
you to create custom XML schemas 
to optimize data storage in a format 
that is usable across diverse platforms 
and applications, per 

by Tom Nelson and Mary O'Connor 



PC Today / December 2004 63 



Ci*^ Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 




Keep Track Of Clips 

Microsoft Office Clip Organizer 




Adding keywords to your media files will make it 
easier to find them later on. 



The editors of USA 
Today strategically 
employ colorful charts 
and illustrations as a 
way of enhancing their 
readers' understanding of 
the issues. Now users of 
Office 2003 can do the 
same. Microsoft's latest 
productivity suite fea- 
tures the Clip Organizer, 
a tool that helps you 
gather and manage the me- 
l files scattered across your 
It is located in the Microsoft 
Tools folder, which you can find 
Microsoft Office folder. 

Collection 

The functionality of Clip Organizer rests firmly 
on the foundation of its three primary collections. 
Each collection is a catalog of shortcuts that point to 
a particular group of multimedia files. The Office 
Collections, for instance, consists of the media files 
that came bundled with Microsoft Office. The Web 
Collections includes media files obtained from on- 
line sources. The third collection, referred to as My 
Collections, includes everything else. 

Clip Organizer builds its collections by scan- 
ning your system for media files. 
You have the option of launching 
this scan the first time you open 
Clip Organizer. If you choose to 
bypass this opportunity, you can 
create the collections at a later 
time by opening the File menu, se- 
lecting Add Clips To Organizer, 
and clicking Automatically or On 
My Own from the pop-up menu. 
Click OK in the resulting Add 
Clips To Organizer dialog box to 
start the scan. 






Organize The Data 

The contents of your Clip 
Organizer collections are grouped into smaller 
collections or subcollections. Clip art files are or- 
ganized by subject, such as animals, food, and 



seasons. Almost everything else is orga- 
nized by its folder of origin. 

Clip Organizer automatically catalogs 
any multimedia data it finds, so your col- 
lections may contain numerous program 
icons, ad graphics, and other unnecessary 
files. For efficiency, eliminate the files you 
don't need and intuitively organize those 
you do. You can delete a subcollection or 
file by right-clicking it, selecting Delete in 
the resulting pop-up menu, and clicking 
the Yes button when asked to verify your 
decision. Adding a subcollection is as 
easy as opening the File menu and se- 
lecting New Collection. You can move 
files and subcollections simply by drag- 
ging them from one collection to another. 

You can define the keywords for each 
file in your collection by right-clicking a 
file and selecting Edit Keywords. Locate 
the Keyword field in the resulting dialog 
box and type a word or words that de- 
scribe the file. When you click the Add 
button, the word(s) will appear in the Key- 
words For Current Clip list. To remove a 
keyword, highlight it and click Delete. 

Find A File & Add It To An 
Office Document 

A typical collection will include hun- 
dreds of multimedia files. Fortunately, 
Clip Organizer provides a nifty Search 
tool that can help you find the particular 
file or files you need. To access the tool, 
open the View menu and select Search. 
Type the keywords in the resulting 
Search For field in the left pane and click 
the Go button. A list of matching media 
files will appear in the main pane within 
a few seconds. You can further refine 
your search by tweaking the settings 
listed under the Search Options heading. 

After finding a media file that meets 
your needs, you can add it to an Office 
document simply by dragging it from the 
Clip Organizer to the open document, per 

byJeffDodd 



64 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



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Ciu Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 




Organize Your Images 

Microsoft Office Picture Manager 



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In scanning your drives, Picture Manager may create 
links to folders containing images you won't edit, 
such as those contained in another program. 






Before you run out 
and purchase a sep- 
arate program to edit and 
organize your digital im- 
ages, get to know the fea- 
tures of Microsoft Office 
Picture Manager. You 
may find that its tools are 
quite sufficient for your 
needs — and you can save 
a little money, too. 

Get Started 

When you open Picture 
Manager, you will see three 
panes. In the middle is a large 
viewing area in which you'll auto- 
matically see the images stored in Pic- 
ture Manager's default folder. You can 
view images one at a time, in Filmstrip 
mode, or as thumbnails. 

This viewing space also doubles as 
your work space. Once you've clicked 
an image, you can then access Picture 
Manager's editing tools, either from 
the Pictures menu or from the Getting 
Started task pane. Both contain Auto 
Correct (which automatically adjusts 
the color and brightness of the selected 
photo) and an assortment of manual 
and automatic tools that will help you 
modify color, brightness, and contrast; 
crop, rotate, and flip the image; and re- 
move that nasty red-eye. 

Even if you've never edited digital 

images before, you should have no prob- 
lems using these tools. And if you make a change 
that you want to delete, either immediately choose 
the Undo command from the Edit menu or at any 
time pick the Discard Changes command from 
that same menu. (The latter tool restores the image 
to its original dimensions and features, so any 
other changes will be lost.) 

The Getting Started pane, which you can access 
via Task Pane under the View menu, also features 
a browsing tool and ways to make sharing or 
moving your images easier, whether through 
email, by inserting them in Office documents, or 
by storing them in new locations on your PC. 



Add Shortcuts 

The third pane, Picture Shortcuts, is 
the key to organizing all your images, es- 
pecially for the purposes of editing them 
with Picture Manager. It holds links 
to folders on your drive(s) that contain 
images. By default, it has a link to My 
Pictures, but you can easily add more by 
using the Add Picture Shortcut tool. Just 
navigate to the folder and type the name, 
and the link is automatically created. 
In addition, Picture Manager creates a 
folder named Unsaved Edits. This folder 
stores images you're working on cur- 
rently so you can go back and forth be- 
tween photos without having to save 
each change before leaving the file. 

You also can use the shortcuts tool to 
create easy access to images stored on 
your PC. If you don't have too many pic- 
tures on your hard drive and you have a 
good idea which folders they're located 
in, then using this tool is a good option. 
However, if you have hundreds of pho- 
tos on your computer and you want to 
keep track of those and all images, re- 
gardless of their source, a better option is 
to choose the Locate Pictures command 
from the File menu. This opens the Lo- 
cate Pictures task pane to the right. 

In this task pane, choose a drive from 
the drop-down menu and click OK, and 
Picture Manager will automatically scan 
that drive for images. When finished, 
Picture Manager creates links to the 
folders on the selected drive in which it 
found images. If the folder it links to con- 
tains subfolders with more images, links 
to those subfolders will appear in the 
shortcuts pane, as well. 

Feature Rich 

With so many features, Picture Man- 
ager could stand alone as its own pro- 
gram. The fact that it's included with 
such a powerful and popular suite is a 
bonus for Office users, per 

by Rachel Derowitsch 



66 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



XjP Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 




_ Scan With Ease 

Microsoft Office Document Scanning 



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Document Scanning is set by default 
to interpret all text images as English- 
language characters. If you intend to 
scan documents written in French or 
Spanish, open the Processing Tab in 
the Preset Options dialog box and set 
the OCR Language field to French or 
Spanish, respectively. 



have a paperless of- 
fice? Thanks to Document 
Scanning, a utility that 
comes bundled with Mi- 
crosoft Office 2003, you 
can replace the piles of 
paper on your desk with a 
folder of digital images 
on the hard drive. Access 
it by opening the Start 
menu; burrowing through 
the All Programs, Microsoft 
Office, and Microsoft Office 
Tools folders; and clicking the Mi- 
crosoft Office Document Scanning op- 
tion on the resulting list. The Scan New 
5 * ' Document window will appear on-screen. 

Just Digitize It 

Document Scanning is configured by default 
to produce a black-and-white image, which it 
will save as a TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) 
and deposit in your My Documents folder. We 
suggest, however, that you evaluate these default 
settings and adjust them accordingly before 
launching your initial scan. You will get better re- 
sults by preparing properly. 

Choose a preset. Document Scanning is config- 
ured with four preset scanning options: Black And 
White; Black And White From Color Page; Color; 
and Grayscale. Choose the Black And White op- 
tion when scanning text, Color when scanning 
color images, and Grayscale when scanning black- 
and-white images. Choose the Black And White 
From Color Page option when you want low- 
resolution black-and-white copies of color images. 

Tweak the scanning option. You can cus- 
tomize the preset options to better meet your par- 
ticular scanning needs. Simply highlight the 
preset option that most closely describes the type 
of scan you want to perform, click the Preset 
Options button, and select the Edit Selected 
Preset option. The resulting Preset Options di- 
alog box provides four tabs of related settings. 

Start by opening the General tab and clicking 
the Advanced button. In the resulting Advanced 
Scan Settings dialog box, you can customize the 



scanning resolution by adjusting the 
Resolution (dpi [dots per inch]) and Type 
fields. You also can dictate whether you 
want to save the image in the TIFF or 
MDI (multiple document interface) for- 
mat (by clicking their respective radio 
buttons) and whether you want to opti- 
mize compression in favor of image 
quality or file size. We recommend the 
TIFF format with lossless compression 
(a method of file compression that pre- 
serves all original data). 

We also recommend selecting the 
Auto-Contrast, Save As Monochrome op- 
tion if you're scanning text. After config- 
uring your preferences, click OK to return 
to the General tab. 

Next, open the Page tab to specify 
the size of the original document. If 
you're scanning single-page docu- 
ments, select the Save Each Page As A 
Separate Document option; if you're 
scanning multipage documents, leave 
this option unselected. Proceed to the 
Output tab, on which you can specify 
how the scanned images are named 
and where they're saved by default. 

Finish with the Processing tab, which 
contains the OCR (optical character rec- 
ognition; technology that converts the 
digital image of a letter into an alphanu- 
meric text character) settings. OCR is ac- 
tive by default. You can disable it by 
deselecting the Use OCR To Recognize 
The Text Of The Scanned Image option. 
Click OK to save your settings and return 
to the Scan New Document window. 

Scan Away 

At this point, you can load your 
scanner with a single-page document 
and execute the scan by clicking the 
Scan button in the upper-right corner of 
the Scan New Document window. The 
resulting image file will appear in the 
Document Imaging window, per 

byJeffDodd 



PC Today / December 2004 67 



ClU Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 



o: 




Transforming Printed 
^ Text Into Digital Text 

Optical Character Recognition In Office 2003 



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The Microsoft Office 
Document Imaging program 
makes it easy to export 
scanned text to Microsoft 
Word as a new document. 



CR (Optical Char- 
acter Recognition) is 
the process of scanning 
printed pages via an op- 
tical scanner and then 
using specialized software 
to recognize the letters 
on the scanned pages as 
text and save those pages 
in digital text format. OCR 
technology is convenient for 
making lengthy documents quickly 
available to users in digital format for 
use by most standard word processing 
programs. The technology uses a type of artifi- 
cial intelligence known as pattern recognition to 
identify text in a scanned image. Although early in- 
carnations of this technology 
required training the software 
and may initially have had a 
relatively high error rate for 
properly detecting letters, re- 
cent advances in OCR tech- 
nology have improved it to the 
point where today's systems 
can recognize most fonts with 
a high degree of accuracy. 
Let's take a look at how OCR 
works in Microsoft's Office Document Imaging 
Program, part of a suite of tools found in Office 2003. 

Tools Of The Trade 

With OCR, the document-input process is now 
fast and cost-effective. In fact, each year OCR tech- 
nology helps free up huge volumes of storage space 
that was once relegated to file cabinets or other 
physical storage devices. Before using OCR, you 
must scan the source material. If you don't have an 
optical scanner, you'll be pleased to know that they 
are relatively inexpensive and easy to connect to 
your computer using the ubiquitous USB (Universal 
Serial Bus) connection. These have the added advan- 
tage of sparing valuable space on your desktop. 

While specialized software is required for recog- 
nizing the scanned images as text, you don't have to 



You can launch Microsoft Office 
2003's Scan New Document 
feature via the Microsoft Office 
Document Imaging program or 
by clicking Start, Programs (or 
All Programs in Windows XP), 
Microsoft Office, Microsoft 
Office Tools, and Microsoft 
Office Document Scanning. 



look very far because Office 2003 has OCR 
capability built-in as one of its talents. 

Fast & Easy 

Assuming that your scanner is al- 
ready installed and operational, the first 
step is acquiring the image. Place the 
text document you wish to scan into the 
scanner and then start the Microsoft 
Office Document Imaging Program 
by clicking Start, Programs (or All 
Programs in Windows XP), Microsoft 
Office, Microsoft Office Tools, and Mi- 
crosoft Office Document Imaging. Click 
the Scanner icon in the toolbar or select 
Scan New Document from the File 
menu, and a dialog box will ask you to 
select a preset for scanning. Several op- 
tions are available and you need to select 
the one appropriate for the type of docu- 
ment you are scanning. 

We selected simple Black And White 
text under Select A Preset For Scanning 
and clicked the Scan button. In a single 
step, the program scans the document 
and automatically acquires the text using 
built-in OCR software. After the pro- 
gram acquired the image and performed 
the OCR function, we chose to send the 
text to Microsoft Word by selecting Send 
Text To Word from the Tools menu. We 
could then edit the document or save it 
in any one of the convenient word pro- 
cessing formats Word offers. 

Results 

The results of our testing showed a 
great deal of accuracy. Using a short, 
three-paragraph document, the pro- 
gram maintained the original docu- 
ment layout and did not miss a single 
letter. What would have taken minutes 
to type took just seconds, pct 

by Douglas Schweitzer 



68 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Ci"i3 Cover Story | Office 2003 Survival Guide 




Downloads For 
Office 2003 



Tap This Resource 



W 



ho doesn't love a 
free lunch, espe- 
cially when Microsoft 
provides it? And on 
Microsoft's Web site, the 
company offers the free- 
bies in the form of some 
truly useful download- 
able add-ins and up- 
grades for Office 2003. 
Come along for a quick trip 
as we look at some of the best 
free downloads Microsoft offers 
for its current Office suite. 

Finders Keepers 

First things first: Microsoft's Web site is no- 
toriously large, but you can jump right to the 
download section of Office Online by pointing 
your browser to www.office.microsoft.com 
/officeupdate and clicking the Downloads For 
Office 2003 link in the Browse section. When you 
do, the Downloads For Office 2003 site displays. 
To make it easy to find what you want, Micro- 
soft categorized the site by the various programs 
that compose Office 2003, as well as a category 
for downloads that include multiple programs 
in the suite. Microsoft further broke down the 
download categories for each program into sub- 
categories, such as add-ins, updates, publica- 
tions, viewers, smart tags, and tutorials. 




Microsoft provides a wide variety of choices for Office 
2003 updates, add-ins, and other freebies. 



So what's the difference between these 
categories and subcategories? Add-ins are 
useful accessory programs or utilities that 
extend the capabilities of the main appli- 
cation. Updates are important or critical 
patches, fixes, and upgrades that remedy 
existing problems or increase stability and 
performance of a previously released pro- 
gram. Publications and tutorials can help 
you use the relative program more effec- 
tively, while viewers enable you to see 
(but not edit) files on computers that 
don't have the full software installed. For 
example, you can give a PowerPoint pre- 
sentation on a computer that has only the 
PowerPoint viewer installed. 

For each of the downloads on the site, 
Microsoft includes a description, the esti- 
mated download time, and the file size. In 
most cases, Microsoft also lists steps for in- 
stalling the downloads or gives warnings 
about potential system incompatibilities. 

After you decide that you want a cer- 
tain file, click Download. In the File 
Download dialog box, click Save to dis- 
play the Save As dialog box. Indicate the 
location where you want the file and click 
Save. Once the download is finished, 
close the Download Complete dialog box. 
Finally, to install the update or add-in on 
your computer, double-click the file icon 
in the location where you saved it and 
follow the directions in the displayed di- 
alog boxes, if any, to install the program. 

Office 2003 Service Pack 1 

One of the most important downloads 
for you to install is the Office 2003 
Service Pack 1. You can access it by 
clicking Updates under Office 2003 (on 
the Downloads For Office 2003 page) 
and clicking Office 2003 Service Pack 1. 
This service pack combines a number of 
upgrades that improve the originally re- 
leased software's security, performance, 
and features. Furthermore, it helps 



PC Today / December 2004 69 



Office 2003 operate in a more stable way 
with fewer glitches. For example, SP1 
fixes a problem in Excel 2003 in which the 
application hangs if the Cell Validation 
dialog box is open and you want to 
switch to another program. 

The SP1 download is relatively large. 
(It ranges from 18 to 72MB; the exact file 
size depends on whether you have ac- 
cess to the original program CDs.) 
Microsoft estimates that it will take you 
approximately 19 minutes to download 
the file if you're using a dial-up connec- 
tion. (If you have high-speed Internet ac- 
cess, it will take only about two minutes.) 

Office 2003 Service Pack 1 
For Proofing Tools 

Just when you thought you were safe 
by installing Office 2003's Service Pack 
1, Microsoft released another download- 
able update: Office 2003 Service Pack 1 
For Proofing Tools. This update ensures 
that the proofing tools, such as the 
spelling and grammar checkers, operate 
flawlessly. To make Office 2003 work as 
smooth as possible, you should down- 
load both service packs. The download 
size ranges from 4.6KB (if you have the 
original program CDs) to 13KB (if you 
don't). The download takes 11 minutes 
with a dial-up connection and 30 seconds 
with a cable modem. 

Office 2003/XP Add-In: 
Remove Hidden Data 

If you value your privacy and want 
to keep snoops at bay, consider down- 
loading and installing the Remove 
Hidden Data add-in. This download, 
available via the Add-Ins link under 
Office 2003, works by removing hidden 
data from files in Word 2003, Excel 
2003, and PowerPoint 2003. For ex- 
ample, it cleans up any traces of com- 
ments, tracking, and collaborative notes 
so that others won't have access to con- 
fidential information. You can also use 
this tool to scrub individual or multiple 
files simultaneously. 

The download file size is a mere 
260KB. It takes only a minute with dial- 
up; much less with a cable connection. 
After it's downloaded, double-click the 
Rhdtool.exe file to install the utility. You 



can then use the tool by choosing 
the Remove Hidden Data com- 
mand on the File menu in Word, 
PowerPoint, or Excel. 



Word 2003 XML Viewer 

If you create specialized Word 
files to share with others via the 
Web, you can opt to also post the 
Word XML Viewer. To access 
this download, click Viewers 
under Word 2003 on the Down- 
loads For Office 2003 page. This 

viewer enables people who don't 

have Word installed on their comput- 
ers (or who have older versions of 
Word) to still view your document. The 
Viewer works by translating Word's 
WordprocessingML documents into 
HMTL so that you can view them in 
Internet Explorer. The 1MB will take 
about two minutes to download via a 
dial-up modem and under one minute 
with a cable connection. 

PowerPoint 2003 Viewer 

If you take your PowerPoint presenta- 
tions on the road, you'll appreciate the 
PowerPoint Viewer. You can install this 
add-in on any computer and then view 
or print (but not edit) presentations on 
the system. This is handy when the com- 
puter you want to use for your presenta- 
tion doesn't have the full version of 
PowerPoint on it. The download size of 
the file is approximately 1.9KB; you can 
find it by clicking the Viewers link 
under PowerPoint 2003. 

Microsoft Producer 
For PowerPoint 2003 

If you're planning on using Power- 
Point 2003 to publish a presentation 
on the Web, consider downloading 
Microsoft Producer For PowerPoint 
2003. This add-in enables you to capture 
and combine audio, video, slides, and 
graphics and then publish the resulting 
presentation to the Internet. The file 
download size is a hefty 46MB, which 
will take 113 minutes to download with 
dial-up (much shorter with a high-speed 
connection), but don't let that stop you. 
If you're a PowerPoint guru, this utility 
is a great addition to the main program. 







□ □ 

nn 




; r x a <■ * j j !«*■»* ■ ■ J 






■ 




l PowerPoint 2003 

3 By Linda Bird 


_„««. 


! --El»-» 







Expand your horizons: Download templates not 
included with Office 2003 that Microsoft originally 
released with previous versions of PowerPoint. 



You can find it by clicking the Add-Ins 
link under PowerPoint 2003. 

PowerPoint Templates 
(Packs 1,2, 3) 

You can apply PowerPoint templates 
to your slides to quickly produce attrac- 
tive presentations. Although PowerPoint 
2003 already includes a number of tem- 
plates, after awhile you may feel a bit 
limited by the choices. If so, Microsoft 
provides three separate packs of addi- 
tional templates, most of which were 
originally released with older versions of 
PowerPoint. The templates are available 
by clicking the Add-Ins link under the 
PowerPoint 2003 section. (All the packs 
are slightly over 1MB and will take 
around three minutes to download with 
a dial-up connection.) After you choose 
and download a pack, you can view 
them in PowerPoint's Slide Design pane. 

Outlook 2003 
Video E-Mail Add-In 

We all know that email is an integral 
part of our lives. To make email more in- 
teresting, Microsoft provides a download 
that you can use in conjunction with a 
Web camera to create and send videos to 
your friends called the Outlook Video E- 
Mail add-in. The add-in, dated March 22, 
is 2MB and should take about four min- 
utes to download. You can find this tool 
via the Add-Ins link under the Outlook 
2003 section. One final note: If you in- 
stalled the previous version of this add- 
in, you should uninstall it before 
installing in the new one. per 

by Linda Bird 



70 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 




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Tweaks 

Work Smarter 



by Tom Nelson and Mary O'Connor 



Taskbar grouping is a helpful 
way to minimize Taskbar 
clutter, but I'd like to set the 
grouping size myself. How do 
I do this? (Windows XP) 



The grouping function in Windows 

XP creates a Taskbar grouping or 

button when you open three or more 

files with the same application. You 

can change the default number of 

open documents to a higher or lower 

number if you prefer. 



WinXP combines multiple documents opened with the same application into a single grouping 
on a button in the Taskbar. The grouping function doesn't kick in until you've opened three or 
more documents with the same application and completely filled the Taskbar with Taskbar but- 
tons. You can use the Windows Registry Editor to change the default behavior of the grouping 
function so it won't wait for these two conditions before activating. (Make sure you know exactly 
what you're doing before you modify the Registry.) 

Click Start and select Run. In the Run dialog box, type regedit and press ENTER or click OK. 
Locate the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\ 
CURRENTVERSION\EXPLORER\ ADVANCED. Create a new DWORD Value by right- 
clicking in the right pane and selecting New and DWORD Value from the pop-up menu. A new 
DWORD value will appear, ready for you to give it a name. Type TaskbarGroupSize and press 

ENTER. Right-click the TaskbarGroupSize value you just 
created and select Modify from the pop-up menu. Type 2 as 
the new value, making sure that the radio button next to 
Decimal is selected, and click OK. Restart your computer for 
the change to take effect. 

The DWORD data value indicates the number of applica- 
tion document windows you must open to activate the 
grouping function. In the above case, as soon as you open 




two documents in an application, the grouping function will activate. In addition, once you set 
the TaskbarGroupSize, the grouping function will no longer wait for the Taskbar to fill up with 
buttons before it will activate. 



How can I make Taskbar 
buttons more readable? 
(Windows 98/Me/2000) 



If you have numerous applications and documents open at one time, the Taskbar ends up full 
of small buttons, each of which only has a few visible letters of text. The resulting clutter can re- 
ally slow you down as you click button after button, trying to figure out which is which. Some 
of the best ways to combat Taskbar clutter are to keep a clean Taskbar and to minimize the use 
of Taskbar toolbars that don't do much more than take up space. The System Tray can also con- 
tribute to Taskbar clutter, so if you tend to keep a number of application icons in your System 
Tray, consider removing all but the most essential ones. 

Next, review the applications and documents you're leaving open and decide whether you 
really need them. In addition to adding to overall Desktop and Taskbar clutter, too many 
open windows can have a negative effect on system performance. If you don't really need all 
those open windows, you're slowing yourself down from two directions: by wasting time 
trying to find the right document or application and by dragging down your system. 

If you've eliminated as many open documents and unnecessary toolbars as possible, and 
you're still stuck with unreadable Taskbar buttons, try using an alternative method of ac- 
cessing open applications. Instead of madly clicking Taskbar buttons, press ALT-TAB to cycle 
through a list of open windows. If you get carried away and go past the window you want, 
press SHIFT-ALT-TAB to cycle in the opposite direction. 



Can I force Windows Explorer 
to always show all file and 
folder information? 
(Win98/Me/2000/XP) 



Manually adjusting each column of 
information in Windows Explorer's Details 
view can be time consuming. Instead, 
press CTRL-+, and all columns will auto- 
matically resize to display all information. 



Windows Explorer is a great way to view file and folder information. Details view provides a 
wealth of information, including name, size, type, and modification date. But manually adjusting 

the size of each field so that all information displays, 
rather than being cut off in a series of ellipses, is a nui- 
sance. More often than not, each time you change to an- 
other folder, you have to adjust the fields all over again. 

With just a couple of keystrokes, you can change 
Details view to display the entire contents of each field. 
Press CTRL-+ (the plus key on the number pad), and all 
fields will automatically adjust to display all information. 



i£p™ **" wET"* 



72 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Work Smarter 



How do I insert a blank line 
space within a bulleted list? 
(Word 2000/2002/2003) 



Unless you routinely create bullet or numbered lists, manipulating them is often a chore. 
Pressing the ENTER key creates a new line, with a bullet or number attached to it. 

Instead, press SHIFT-ENTER. This starts a new line, without an associated bullet or 
number. The next time you use just the ENTER key to start a new line, the bullets or numbers 
will continue where they left off. 



I routinely paste text from other 
Office applications into Word 
and then reformat the text to 
match the current document. 
Is there a way to do the 
pasting and formatting in one 
step? (Office 2000/XP/2003) 



There are a couple of ways to correct this problem; the most common method is the one you're 
currently using. This can be cumbersome, though, and it's easy to miss a section of text. 

An easier and more foolproof method is to use the Paste Special command. Click Edit and 
select Paste Special. In the Paste Special dialog box, select the Unformatted Text option. This 
will cause the pasted text to pick up the formatting present at the insertion point in the docu- 
ment, rather than use its embedded formatting information. 



Whenever I enter a fraction in 
a cell, Excel turns it into a 
date. If I enter the decimal 
equivalent of the fraction, and 
then change the cell's format, 
I get the results I need, but 
there must be an easier way. 
(Excel 2000/2002/2003) 



Whenever I open or save an 
Office document, a dialog box 
displays predefined locations 
for quickly accessing files. How 
can I add my own locations to 
this list? (Office XP/2003) 





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If an entry contains a slash, Excel treats it as a date. To 
force Excel to accept a fraction, such as 1 /4, as a fraction 
and not a date, add a zero and a space at the beginning. 



The My Places bar in Microsoft Office 




- J- i ex _, j.B^l 




isn't limited to its five default locations. 
You can use the Tools menu in the 


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The problem is that Excel treats slashed 
numbers as dates. For example, if you 
type 1/4, Excel sees it as 4-Jan or January 
4. Even more frustrating, if you go to the 
cell that's displaying your fraction as a 
date and correct the formatting, you ex- 
pect to see a fraction. Instead, you'll get a 
large decimal number. 

You can work around this problem in 
one of two ways. First, you can format 
the cell as a fraction before you enter any 
data. You can then type your data as a 
decimal, such as .25, or as a fraction, such 

as 1/4. In either case, the number will display as a fraction. This method is very handy if you 
want a quick and easy decimal-to-fraction conversion. 

The second method is perhaps the easiest and fastest way to achieve fraction formatting 
without doing any preformatting finagling. Simply precede any fraction you enter with a zero 
and a space. For example, if the fraction is 1/4, type 1/4. This allows you to enter your frac- 
tion and format the cell in one easy step. 

The group of predefined locations in the Open and Save dialog boxes is called the My Places 
bar. The My Places bar is a vertical bar on the left of the dialog box that displays five com- 
monly accessed locations: The Desktop, My Documents, My Computer, My Network Places, 
and My Recent Documents. 

Office XP and later versions of Office include an easy way to manipulate the My Places bar 
to fit your needs. To modify the My Places bar, open any Office application and then select 
File and Open. 

You can change the order of the My Places icons by right-clicking an icon and selecting 
Move Up or Move Down from the pop-up menu. You can select the size of the icons by right- 
clicking anywhere in the My Places bar and selecting 
Large Icons or Small Icons. (Only the option that isn't cur- 
rently in use will display.) 

To add other locations to the My Places bar, use the 
Open dialog box to navigate to the target folder. Click the 
folder once to highlight it and then from the Open dialog 
box's menu select Tools and Add To "My Places." The 
folder is added to the My Places bar and is in any Office 
application. 



PC Today / December 2004 73 






Tweaks 

Optimization Central 



by Tom Nelson and Mary O'Connor 



Is there anything I can do to 
speed up the process of 
burning CDs? (Windows XP) 



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(£| Application Data 



Windows XP maintains a CD 
Burning folder on your hard drive 
as temporary storage space. 
Moving the folder to another hard 
drive can kick your performance 
up a notch. 



WinXP uses a portion of your hard drive as a temporary storage area for any data that will be 
burned to CD. Having this temporary storage area on your main drive is sometimes not a 
good idea. If you burn a lot of CDs, you risk major file fragmentation on the drive. This can 
slow down the CD burning process, which is bad enough, but it also has the potential to slow 
down your system in general. 

A better solution would be to locate the temporary storage space on a separate drive, 
where fragmentation wouldn't affect the day-to-day use of your computer. In addition, if you 
create a dedicated partition (at least 800MB to 1GB or more) for the temporary storage space 
on the second hard drive, you can further speed up the CD burning process. Your CD writer 
should read the data in a contiguous stream, rather than wait on a drive head to 
move around a fragmented file system. 

To change the location of the temporary storage space, you will need to access some 
folders that are usually hidden. If you haven't already made hidden files and folders 
visible on your system, click Start and select My Computer. In the menu, click Tools 
and select Folder Options. Click the View tab. Under Hidden Files And Folders, select 
Show Hidden Files And Folders. Click Apply and then click Apply To All Folders. 

Next, go to the following location: C:\DOCUMENTS AND SETTINGS 

\USERNAME\WCAL SETTINGS \ APPLICATION DATAXMICROSOFT. Within 

this folder is a folder called CD Burning. To move this folder to its new location on 

another hard drive, click the folder once to select it. In the left pane, under File And 

Folder Tasks, click Move This Folder. From the Move Items dialog box, select a new 

location for the folder and click Move. (If this isn't in the left pane, click the Folders 

icon in the toolbar to access it.) 

After you move the folder, open the Windows Registry Editor by clicking Start and Run. In 
the Run dialog box, type regedit and click OK or press ENTER. Locate and click the following 
key:HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVER- 
SION\EXPLORER\SHELL FOLDERS. In the right pane, right-click the CD Burning value 
and select Modify from the pop-up menu. In the Value Data field, enter the path name to the 
new location of the CD Burning folder and click OK. To exit the Registry Editor, click File and 
select Exit. Restart your computer for the change to take effect. 



Is there a way to increase 
the speed of my older hard 
drives, which I have just 
replaced? (Windows 98/Me) 




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Disabling synchronous buffer 
commits can increase hard drive 
performance, but it may leave 
you vulnerable to data loss from 
a power failure. 



We assume you've tried all the standard methods of tweaking a hard drive's performance, 
such as defragging and ensuring that your drives are using the fastest possible transfer mode. 
If so, there's another trick you can try to gain a little more performance, but it comes with a 
slight risk. 

When an application writes data to a hard drive, Windows caches some of the data in 
memory, while it waits for the drive to catch up. Normally, Windows doesn't tell the applica- 
tion that writing has finished until the cached data is written to the drive. You can configure 
Windows to tell the application that writing the data to the hard drive is complete, when in 
fact, the data is only cached. This will increase perceived performance because applications 
won't wait for data to be written to the drive. 

The risk is that if a problem occurs, such as a power failure, the cached data may not be 
written to the drive, even though the application thinks it is. This can corrupt application 
files, as well as corrupt the data files the applications create. If you're willing to take this risk, 
we strongly suggest that you connect your computer to a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) 
to prevent a sudden power loss. 

To configure Windows to consider data written to the cache as data written to the hard 
drive, right-click the My Computer icon on your Desktop and select Properties from the 
pop-up menu. Select the Performance tab and click File System. In the File System Properties 
dialog box, click the Troubleshooting tab, put a check mark next to Disable Synchronous 
Buffer Commits, and click OK. 



74 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Optimization Central 



What can I do to squeeze 
more performance out of my 
PC when I play games and 
use other high-performance 
applications? (WinXP) 



To completely disable the 

System Restore feature in 

WinXP, you must also 

prevent the background 

service from starting 

automatically at boot time. 



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One item that individuals commonly overlook when attempting to gain a performance edge 
is the System Restore application. System Restore requires a background service run. It also 
reserves disk space from every hard drive partition on your system for its own use to store 
the Restore Points. System Restore can adversely affect game performance by inadvertently 
running while you're playing a game. 

If you just want to be able to say you have the fastest frame rates, or you want to check 
other performance benchmarks for your games, then by all means turn off System Restore 
when you're doing so. But turning System Restore off as a routine method of gaining perfor- 
mance is not advisable because it can prevent recovery from a botched software or hardware 
installation or other problem-causing events that may occur on your PC. 

We don't recommend disabling System Restore for most users, but if you must push the 
edge of the performance envelope, you can do this by right-clicking the My Computer icon 
and selecting Properties from the pop-up menu. In the System Properties dialog box, select 
the System Restore tab and put a check mark next to Turn Off System Restore. Click OK to 
accept the changes and close the window. When you see a warning about turning off the 
System Restore feature, click Yes to continue. 

So you've turned off the System Restore application, but the 
System Restore service is still configured to reserve system re- 
sources at startup. Even though the application won't run, you 
must free up these resources if you want to gain every possible 
edge. Click Start and select Run. In the Run dialog box, type 
services.msc and click OK or press ENTER. Scroll down the list of 
services until you find the System Restore Service item. Right-click 
System Restore Service and select Properties from the pop-up 
menu. Select the General tab and use the drop-down menu to set 
the Startup Type to Manual. Click Apply and OK and then restart 
your computer. 

You can restart the System Restore Service at any time by using 
the System Restore tab in the System Properties dialog box. 






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Is there anything I can do to 
make my keyboard more 
responsive when I have 
multiple applications running? 
(Win98/Me) 



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The problem you describe is caused by the 
amount of time your computer's processor spends 
processing keystrokes. Normally, the default time 
allocated for this process is more than adequate to 
ensure a good response time. But with older com- 
puter systems, many of which have less than ideal 
configurations (such as slower processors and 
smaller amounts of memory), keyboard response 
time is an issue. 

You can increase the amount of time reserved for 
processing keystrokes by making a small change 
to the System.ini file. Click Start and select Run. In 
the Run dialog box, type msconfig and click OK or 
press ENTER. In the System Configuration Utility 
window that opens, select the System.ini tab. Dou- 
ble-click the [386enh] entry to expand it. Make sure the [386enh] entry is still selected and 
click the New button. Type KeyBoostTime=.005 and press ENTER. Click Apply and OK to 
save your changes and reboot your computer for the changes to take effect. 

If your keyboard still seems a little sluggish, you can raise the value of KeyBoostTime. Try 
increasing it in 0.002 increments. (You'll need to reboot after each change for the change to 
take effect.) The default time is 0.001, in case you want to return to the original settings. 



To gain a more responsive keyboard, 
add the KeyBoostTime statement to 
yourSystem.ini file. 



PC Today / December 2004 75 






Tweaks 

Surf Better 



by Chris Pirillo 

Chris Pirillo is the founder 

of Locker gnome, com . 

He writes a monthly column for 

CPU magazine (www.cpumag.com). 



How can I quickly access my 
Favorites? 



The typical way of accessing your Favorites is to open Internet Explorer and click the 
Favorites menu. Another option is to create a window on your computer's Desktop that 
displays your Favorites. This way you do not have to physically open IE to access 
them. To view your favorite links on your Desktop, open the Start menu, click Run, type 
iexplore -channelband in the Open field, and click OK. An elongated window will appear 
on your Desktop, listing your favorite links. You can close the window by clicking the X in 
the top-right corner. Windows will then prompt whether you want the window to reap- 
pear next time you restart your computer. 



I am running out of space on my 
hard drive. How can I move my 
Temporary Internet Files folder to 
a different volume? 



By default, the Temporary Internet Files folder resides on the system partition, which is the 
C: drive on most computers. This folder can become quite large and consume valuable drive 
space. You can move the folder to another location if you have multiple volumes on your 
PC. Open IE's Tools menu and click Internet Options. From the General tab, click the 
Settings button under Temporary Internet Files. In the Settings dialog box, click the Move 
Folder button. Browse to the location where you want to store the folder and click OK. Click 
OK to close the Settings dialog box and click OK to close the Internet Options dialog box. 



Can I change the default email 
program that IE uses? 



When you click an email link on a Web page, this is the email client that IE will automatically 
open. To change the current email program, open the Tools menu and click Internet Options. 
From the Internet Options dialog box, click the Programs tab. Select the program you want IE to 
use from the Email drop-down menu and click OK. 



What is E's AutoComplete 
feature? Can I configure 
its settings? 



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Selecting the Clear Forms 
button will empty the 
AutoComplete list. 



IE has an AutoComplete feature that, by default, provides possible suggestions for Web sites 
when you begin typing a URL into IE's Address bar. AutoComplete is also responsible for 
storing and completing information relevant to forms, passwords, or usernames; 
AutoComplete asks you whether you want to save this information for future use. You can 
delve into AutoComplete and configure its settings for particular uses, or you can turn it off 
completely. To configure AutoComplete: 

1. Open IE's Tools menu and click Internet Options. 

2. Select the Content tab. 

3. Click the AutoComplete button. 

4. Deselect the checkbox next to any of the choices for using AutoComplete: Web Addresses, 
Forms, or User Names And Passwords On Forms. 

5. Click OK. 

If after using the AutoComplete feature, you notice it begins to be cluttered, you can clear it 
out using these steps: 

1. Open IE's Tools menu and click Internet Options. 

2. Select the Content tab. 

3. Click the AutoComplete button. 

4. Click the Clear Forms button in the AutoComplete Settings dialog box and click the 
OK button when Windows asks if you want to clear all previously saved form entries 
except passwords. 

5. Click OK to close the AutoComplete Settings dialog box. 

6. And click OK again to close the Internet Options dialog box. 



76 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Surf Better 



I am working on organizing my 
Favorites. How do I put them in 
alphabetical order? 



To place your Favorites in alphabetical order, begin by 
opening the Favorites menu and selecting Organize Favor- 
ites. Right-click any URL and click Sort By Name in the pop-up 
menu. Your Favorites should now be in alphabetical order. 

If you have a favorite site, you may want to place it at the 
top of the Favorites list for easy access. This is a simple task if 
you have your URLs sorted by name. To move a Favorite to 
the top of the list, access the Organize Favorites dialog box, 
select the URL from the list, and click the Rename button. Type 
an A in front of the current name so the link goes to the top of 
the list and click Close. Your favorite site now appears at the 
top of your Favorites, making it easier to access quickly. 



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Rename any of your Favorites, 
and you can place specific sites 
at the top of your Favorites list. 



I have a long Favorites list. Can I 
display only those Favorites that I 
use frequently? 



If you have a long list of Favorites, you can configure IE to only display the ones that you 
have recently used instead of displaying all of them. This is also a good way of organizing 
your Favorites list so it is more manageable. The sites in your list that you visit infrequently 
are still available; however, IE hides them until you decide to make them accessible again. 
To configure this feature: 

1. Open the Tools menu and click Internet Options. 

2. Select the Advanced tab. 

3. Scroll through the available options and select Enable Personalized Favorites Menu. 

4. Click OK. 



The next time you access IE and open the Favorites menu, IE will display only the sites you 
have accessed recently. You can access the remaining list by clicking the down arrow. 



Can I organize my Favorites 
within Windows Explorer? 



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Using a Personalized 
Favorites Menu is another 
way of keeping your list 
manageable. 



Can I get rid of buttons on my 
toolbar that I do not use? 



You already know that you can organize your Favorites in IE using the Organize Favorites op- 
tion in the Favorites menu. Conversely, you can also organize your Favorites through Windows 
Explorer. To open your Favorites in Windows Explorer using Windows XP, simply open the 
Start menu, click Run, type favorites in the Open field, and click OK. The contents 
of your Favorites folder will appear in 
Windows Explorer. 

You can do all the same things to the 
Favorites folder from Windows Explorer 
that you can do from within IE. You can 
rename an existing Favorites folder or 
link; just right-click the appropriate link 
and select Rename. You can create a new 
Favorites folder that will appear in IE; 
just right-click the window, point to New, 
and select Folder. You can move Favorites 
among folders using the Cut and Paste 
options in the context menu. You can also 
edit a URL's properties by right-clicking 
the link and selecting Properties. 



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In addition to Internet Explorer, you can organize 
If you want to reduce the clutter on your IE you Favorites from Windows Explorer. 

toolbar, you can do so by removing any 

buttons you do not use. For example, maybe you don't use the Edit button or the History 
button, so get rid of them. Open the View menu, point to Toolbars, and click Customize. In 
the Current Toolbar Buttons list, you can highlight the button you don't want to display on 
the toolbar and click the Remove button. Conversely, you can add buttons by selecting an 
item from the Available Toolbar Buttons list and clicking the Add button. 



PC Today / December 2004 77 






Tweaks 

Security & Networking 



by Chris Pirillo 

Chris Pirillo is the founder of 

Lockergnome.com. He writes 

a monthly column for CPU 

magazine (www.cipumag.com). 



How can I access the security 
settings on my computer? 
(Windows Server 2003/XP/2000) 



Your computer has a number of security settings that you can use to secure your computer. 
For example, using the security settings, you can configure a password policy so that all users 
who access your computer must change their password every 30 days. There are a couple of 
ways in which you can access the security settings. One method is to open the Control Panel, 
double-click Administrative Tools, and double-click Local Security Policy. The Local Security 
Settings Window appears. You can also use the Group Policy console. Open the Start menu, 
click Run, type gpedit.msc in the Open field, and click OK. This opens the Group Policy con- 
sole from which you can navigate to the security settings. 



Can I create a shortcut to the 
Group Policy editor? 



If you frequently access the Group Policy editor, you may want to create a shortcut to 
it on your Desktop. Simply right-click your Desktop, point to New, and click Shortcut. 
Type in the path to the management console (it is located in the System32 directory) such 
as c:\Windows\System32\gpedit.msc. Click Next. Type in a name for the shortcut and 
click Finish. 



How can I configure my computer 
so all users must press the 
CTRL-ALT-DELETE key combi- 
nation to log on? (WinServer 
2003/XP/2000) 



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You can configure the Local Security Policy so the Windows Security dialog box displays, re- 
quiring all users to press CTRL- ALT-DELETE to log on. Before users can proceed, they will 
need to provide a valid username and password in order to access the computer. You can 
configure this setting using the following steps: 

1. Open the Start menu. 

2. Click run, type gpedit.msc in the Open field, and 
press ENTER. 

3. In the Group Policy window, click the plus signs (+) to 
expand Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, 
Security Settings, and Local Policies. 

4. Click Security Options to display the systems security 
options in the details pane on the right. 

5. Scroll through the options and double-click Interactive 
Logon: Do Not Require CTRL + ALT + DEL. 

6. Select the Disabled radio button. 

7. Click OK. 



Cancel 



Configure the local security 
policy and you can require 
users to press CTRL-ALT- 
DELETE in order to log on. 



The name of the last person to 
use my computer displays when 
I log on. How can I change this 
so names of previous users 
don't appear? 



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There are many small steps you can take to secure your computer. One way is to configure 
your PC so it does not display the username of the last person to log on. This way, if someone 
wants to attempt to log on as you, not only do they have 
to figure out your password, but they also have to figure 
out the correct username. You can configure this security 
option by opening the Group Policy console using the 
steps outlined in the previous tip. Expand each of the fol- 
lowing categories: Computer Configuration, Windows 
Settings, Security Settings, and Local Policies. Click 
Security Options and double-click Interactive Logon: Do 
Not Display Last User Name in the right pane. Select the 
Disabled radio button in the Properties dialog box and 
click OK. The next time you log on to your computer, 
you will not see the username of the person who previ- 
ously used your computer. 



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D U abled 



You can configure your computer 
so the username of the last 
person to access the computer 
does not display. 



78 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Security & Networking 



Can I give someone the rights to 
back up files and directories 
without giving him Administrator 
status? (Win2000/Server 
2003/XP) 



Local Security Setting 



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Add User or Group... 



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You can assign specific user rights 
to user or group accounts. 



Giving a user Administrative privilege also gives that user full control over your computer. 
When considering a user's rights and permissions, you should follow the principle of least 
privilege. This means you should only assign a user the minimal number of rights and per- 
missions that let him perform required tasks. For example, if you want to give a user the 
ability to back up files and directories, you could add him to the Administrators group. 
However, this goes against the principle of least privilege. A more appropriate solution 
would be to add the user to the Backup Operators group. Here is how: 

1. Right-click My Computer and click Manage. 

2. Expand Local Users And Groups and click Groups to display a list of groups in the right pane. 

3. Double-click Backup Operators and click the Add button on the General tab. 

4. Type in the username of the person you want to add to the group, click the Check Names 
button, and click OK. 

5. Click OK. 

Alternatively, you can assign a user the right to back up files and directories using Local 
Security Policy (instead of adding the user account to the Backup Operators group). Simply 
open the Group Policy console and click the plus signs next to each of these categories: 
Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, and Local Policies. Click User 
Rights Assignment and then double-click Back Up Files And Directories in the right pane. 
Click the Add User Or Group button under the Local Security Setting tab. Enter the name of 
the user you want to assign this user right to and click the 
Check Names button. Click OK and click OK again. 



How can I configure an Account 
Lockout Policy on my computer? 



Local Security Setting I 



For increased security, you can configure your computer 
with an Account Lockout Policy. This means that after a 
certain number of failed logon attempts, Windows will lock 
the user account. You can configure this option by opening 
the security settings on the local computer (double-click 
Administrative Tools in Control Panel and double-click Local 
Security Policy). With the security settings accessible, expand 
Account Policies and click Account Lockout Policy. In the 
right pane, double-click Account Lockout Threshold. Specify 
the number of failed logon attempts a user will have to log 
on before he is locked out. Click OK. The Suggested Value 
Changes dialog box will appear. Click OK to accept the default settings. 



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You can configure your PC 
with an Account Lockout 
Policy so users are locked out 
after a certain number of failed 
logon attempts. 



How can I monitor what users 
are doing after I assigned them 
specific user rights? 



Once you assign a user or group account-specific user rights, you can monitor their privilege 
use by enabling auditing. For example, if you give a user rights to Back Up Files And 
Directories, you can monitor when he performs any backups. You can do this by enabling the 
Audit Privilege Use option within Audit Policy. You need to first open the Group Policy console 
and navigate to Audit Policy (expand Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security 
Settings, and Local Policies). Double-click Audit Privilege Use in the right pane. Under the Local 
Security Settings tab, select the Success and /or Failures checkboxes (depending on the events 
you want to monitor) and click OK. 



I want to display a message to 
users who attempt to log on to 
my computer. How can I do this? 



You can configure your computer to display a message to users who are attempting to log on. 
For example, you may want to display a message that states only users with valid usernames 
and passwords are permitted to log on. To configure a logon message, open the Group Policy 
console and double-click Security Options. (Expand the following: Computer Configuration, 
Windows Settings, Security Settings, and Local Policies.) In the right pane, double-click 
Interactive Logon: Message Text For Users Attempting To Log On. Type a message you want to 
display in the empty field under the Local Policy Setting tab and click OK. 



PC Today / December 2004 79 






Tweaks 

PC Yesterday 



by Jennifer Farwell 



I've heard that Windows 3.1 sup- 
ports multitasking. Yet, when I try 
to run two programs at the same 
time (even though my system has 
sufficient memory), Win3.1 runs 
very poorly and sometimes 
crashes. Can I prevent 
this? (Win3.x) 



Win3.x supports cooperative multitasking (executing multiple operations at once), which 
means one running program must release memory before another program or operation can 
use it. (Windows 95, on the other hand, supports pre-emptive multitasking, which lets the 
OS decide where to allocate memory.) Some programs release memory more freely than 
others. If you are having trouble running two programs together, test each with a different 
program to determine which is the memory hog (potentially, both might be problematic). 
Avoid running memory-hogging programs with other memory-hogging programs. If you 
must run multiple memory grabbers concurrently, close any unnecessary programs that may 
be running in the background. 



When a program freezes, is 
there any way to forcibly close 
the program and continue 
working? (Win3.x/95) 



Win3.x does not have a utility that lets you intervene and close a single program. In fact, 
because Win3.x uses DOS to run, such a utility would be counterproductive. Anytime you 
experience a problem or see an error message in Win3.x, chances are good the underlying 
DOS environment is corrupted, which can be problematic if you continue working. After 
any program freeze or other system problem, you should reboot Windows even if the 
problem did not cause your system to freeze. Win95 includes Close Programs, a utility 
you can invoke by pressing the CTRL-ALT-DELETE key sequence. Close Programs brings 
up a list of running programs and lets you terminate one or more of them. If a program 
freezes your system, access the Close Programs dialog box and try ending the program 
that is giving you trouble. If Close Programs does not open, press the sequence once more 
to reboot Windows. 



Can I send and receive I Ms 
(instant messages) with my 
version of Windows? (Win3.x/95) 







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Windows 3.x users who want 
to chat in real-time will need 
to use an Internet-based chat 
program, such as mIRC. 



Like other versions of Windows, Win3.x/95 does not include IM software. Win95 users with an 
Internet connection can download IM clients for three popular services (AOL Instant Messenger, 
MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger). ICQ doesn't support Win95 and recently terminated 
server support for its Win3.x-compliant version. 

For AIM and MSN Messenger, Win95 users must download older versions of the pro- 
grams. For the AIM download, visit the AOL Instant Messenger Web site (www 
.aim.com/get_aim/win/latest_win.adp?aolp=) and click the System Requirements link. 
Scroll to the System Requirements section and click the Windows 95 Users Please Click 
Here To Download AIM 4.8 link. To download MSN Messenger, visit the MSN Messenger 
page (messenger.msn.com/Help/Upgrades.aspx). Under the Windows 95 heading, click 
the If You Are Running A Version Older Than 5.0, Click Here To Upgrade link. To down- 
load Yahoo! Messenger, visit the Yahoo! Messenger page (messenger.yahoo.com/mes 
senger/ chat.html). In all three cases, download the file and then, while you remain con- 
nected to the Internet, double-click the file to begin the installation process. 

Unfortunately, Win3.x users are out of luck if they want to use one of the better-known IM 
services. AOL, MSN, and Yahoo! no longer offer Win3.x versions of their products for down- 
load. Win3.x users can download an Internet-based chat program, such as mIRC, and com- 
municate, in real-time, with other mIRC users in public and private conversations. For more 
about mIRC, visit www.mirc.com. To download the Win3.x-compatible mIRC client (version 
5.0) visit www.mirc.com/get.html. 



When I click an email link on a Web 
site, Internet Explorer tells me it 
cannot find a MAPI (Messaging 
Application Programming Interface)- 
compatible email program. 
What causes this? (Win 3.x) 



This error message means your email client does not support MAPI, a protocol that lets 
Windows programs access messaging systems. If the link you are clicking displays the actual 
email address, you can copy it into your email client. If not, you'll need to look elsewhere on the 
site for the address. If this is too much hassle, you can download a Win3.x-compatible email 
client that supports MAPI. One popular option is Eudora, the Win3.x version of which is avail- 
able from Tucows atwin3x.tucows.com/preview/4579.html. 



80 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



PC Yesterday 



Sometimes I receive "Out Of 
Memory" errors, even when 
I have no other programs 
open. What is causing this 
problem? (Win3.x) 



At program close, some early Windows programs do not return 100% of the system 
resources they consumed while operating. (Microsoft Excel is particularly bad about this.) 
Consequently, after you open and close numerous programs, you may run out of memory, 
even though you only need a small amount of memory to operate. To clear your memory, 
restart Win3.x. 



I recently installed a new device 
and now an older device will not 
work. What could be causing this 
problem? (Win95) 




Windows 95 users sometimes 
must manually adjust system 
resources to eliminate conflicts 
between two devices. 



Numerous issues could be at fault. However, one of the most common culprits is a conflict 
with an IRQ (interrupt request line; the channel by which the device communicates with the 
processor). To help avoid this issue, Win95 automatically assigns IRQs. Occasionally, this 
system fails — especially if the manufacturer of one of the devices hardwired it (set the IRQ 
within the device). You can find out if there is a conflict and manually change the IRQ of 
either device. 

1. Right-click the My Computer icon on your Desktop and select Properties. 

2. Click the Device Manager tab and locate the nonworking device in the list of devices. 

3. If a yellow icon with an exclamation mark appears next to the device, select the device and 
click the Properties button. Click the Resources tab and look for remarks under Conflicting 
Device List. 

4. If there is a conflict, deselect the Use Automatic Settings checkbox. Under Resource Type, 
select Interrupt Request and click the Change Setting button. 

5. On the Edit Interrupt Request window in the Value box, click the up or down arrow until 
you find a resource where Windows reports No Devices Are Conflicting. Click OK. Click 
OK again and restart your computer. 

If there is no yellow icon next to the problematic device, or you see a red circle with an X in 
it, select the device, click the Remove button, and click OK. Make sure you have securely con- 
nected the device to your PC and then restart Win95, letting your OS install and configure the 
device. If you cannot alter the IRQ settings successfully, or if Windows cannot install the 
device, contact the device's manufacturer for assistance. 



I purchased a used Win95 
computer. Can I change the 
Registered Owner to reflect my 
name rather than that of the 
previous owner? 



Changing the registered owner requires an edit to the Windows Registry (a file that contains 
important system settings). Editing the Registry is safe if you are careful not to change any 
other settings. 

1. From the Start menu, select Run, type regedit in the Open field, and click OK. 

2. When the Registry Editor opens, look in the left pane for the HKEY_LOCAL_ 
MACHINE key. 

3. Expand the folders nested within it until you locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFT- 
WARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENTVERSION. 

4. Click CurrentVersion and look in the right pane for a RegisteredOwner value. 

5. Right-click RegisteredOwner and select Modify. Change the name of the former owner to 
the new desired name in the Value Data field and click OK. Close Registry Editor. 



When I connect to the Internet 
or my company's network, I 
notice that the Save Password 
checkbox is dimmed. Is there 
any way I can activate this box 
and archive my password on 
the system? 



This behavior occurs if you log on by clicking the Cancel button rather than by entering a 
password. At logon, Win95 does not require you to submit a password, even if you previ- 
ously created one, unless you are a member of a functioning, local network. However, Win95 
stores all user settings, including passwords, within the user profile. If you log on by clicking 
Cancel, Win95 will log you on anonymously. Consequently, there will be no user settings (in- 
cluding the password cache list) that Win95 can update during your session. 

Before Win95 can save passwords you provide during operation, you must log on as a 
user. If you created and password-protected a user profile previously, log on with that user- 
name and password. If you have not, you can log on as the default user. Simply enter a pass- 
word (to create a password you will use each time you log on) or leave the password field 
blank (to create a null [empty] password), and click OK. 



PC Today / December 2004 81 






Tweaks 

Mobile Computing 



by Jake Ludington 



How can I encrypt data on my 
notebook computer? 
(Windows XP) 



itf 



Choose the settings you want for this folder 



Folder is read-/ for archiving 
For fast sear v' 

Compress or Encrypt attributes 

.Compress contents to save disk space 
W\ Encrypt contents to secure data 



DC 



Place a check mark next to Encrypt 
Contents To Secure Data to enable 
high security for data in your 
notebook PC 



While traveling, leaving a notebook in a hotel room is always potentially hazardous. You never 
know who might stop in the room while you are out and snoop through (or take) your belong- 
ings. Passwords are a great first line of defense against data theft and will keep out casual infor- 
mation thieves. Even strong passwords using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols are 
fairly easily broken with the right set of tools. To further restrict access to data, you need to add 
protection to the data itself, which means adding a layer of encryption to specific folders or to the 
entire disk. WinXP includes disk encryption as a feature of the operating system. Alternative en- 
cryption packages are also available from third parties. The built-in encryption requires the hard 
drive to be formatted in NTFS. To add encryption to a specific folder, open Windows Explorer, 
right-click the folder to encrypt, and choose properties from the menu. Click the Advanced 
button on the General tab. Check the box next to Encrypt Contents To Secure Data and click OK. 
A box will pop up asking to apply changes only to the folder or to the folder and all of its con- 
tents. To protect everything in the folder, you need to choose the second option. Encrypting the 
folder is only part of the security measure. 

To add a further layer of protection to the folder, take the encryption certificate with you on a 
removable drive, such as a USB (Universal Serial Bus) keychain drive or CompactFlash card. To 
export the key to another drive, open Internet Explorer, click Tools, and choose Internet Options. 
From the Content tab, click the Certificates button. Depending on what other activities you use 
your computer for, there may be more than one certificate in the list of Personal certificates. Click 
each one until Intended Purposes reads Encrypting File System. With this certificate selected, 
click the Export button and step through the wizard, answering Yes to the questions. Leave the 
default selection Enable Strong Protection selected and also check the boxes next to Include All 
Certificates In The Certification Path If Possible and Delete The Private Key If The Export Is 
Successful. Type a password and browse to the location where the file will be exported to. Name 
the file and click Finish. When you remove the disk where the certificate is stored and log off, no 
one will be able to access the encrypted files, including you. When you need access, insert the 
portable drive and import the certificate using the same Certificate Export Wizard. Yes, this adds 
an extra few minutes to the file access process, but your data will be much safer. 



Is there a supercharged encryp- 
tion program I can download for 
my Pocket PC? (2002 or older) 



Where can I download arcade- 
type games for my Pocket PC? 



On the Windows Desktop, we expect to use data encryption when conducting transactions 
via the Internet where we make purchases using credit cards or other sensitive financial 
data. It's obvious when a site offers secure transmission of information because the little 
padlock will appear locked in the bottom right corner of the page. For Pocket PC 2002 (and 
older) users, this option doesn't exist without the installation of the Microsoft High 
Encryption Pack For Pocket PC. This free upgrade, available from the Windows Mobile site 
(www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/downloads/highencryp 
tion.mspx), provides the protection required for secure Internet trans- 
actions, as well as adds additional security within other applications 
that take advantage of 128-bit encryption schemes. 



Pocket PCs may be tools aimed at improving workplace productivity, 
but they also offer a platform for the occasional entertaining diversion. 
Considering most Pocket PCs now offer processor speeds rivaling the 
high-end desktops of a few years ago, it only makes sense to play a few 
games when downtime permits. PocketBlasters.com (www.pocket 
blasters.com) offers a selection of shoot 'em ups for fans of arcade 
classics such as Space Invaders and Galaxian. Games are controlled 
using either the stylus or Pocket PC buttons. The graphics are at least as 
good as the arcade originals, with appropriately spacey sound effects 
and background music shooting you straight back to the '80s. 




If you enjoy arcade 
games, download 
and install them for 
your Pocket PC by 
visiting www.pocket 
blasters.com. 



82 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Mobile Computing 



How do I use the mapping 
feature on my notebook? 
(WinXP) 



On the way to a client meeting, job interview, or any other appointment where punctuality 
is a must is no time to get lost. Microsoft attempts to eliminate driving confusion by in- 
cluding a mapping feature built in to every contact stored in Outlook (versions 2000 and 
later) and Outlook Express. As long as you have address information listed in the contact 
information, Outlook and Outlook Express will attempt to provide you with a map. Make 
sure you have an active Internet connection; in Outlook, open the contact; and, from the 
Action menu, click Display Map Of Address. This launches MSN Maps & Directions. 
When the map page comes up, click the Get Map link. Outlook Express works in a similar 
fashion but uses Expedia. Click the Addresses button on the Outlook Express toolbar. 
Select the contact from the list, click the Business tab, and then click the View Map button. 
At the Expedia site, click Get Driving Directions To This Location, and you're almost there. 



When I import Outlook from my 
PC to my Pocket PC, the 
Contacts list becomes unman- 
ageable. Can I delete all of my 
Pocket PC contacts at once? 



Outlook has a great feature that captures the From email address of every inbound message 
and adds them to an Outlook Contacts entry. This is potentially useful in avoiding 
mistyping addresses, but if you happen to accidentally import that list to your Pocket PC, 
finding important contacts can be a real chore. Instead of agonizing over which contacts are 
keepers and manually deleting the rest, it's best to just delete the entire Contacts list from 
the Pocket PC and start over. To purge the Contacts list, open it, then open the on-screen 
keyboard, tap CTRL followed by the A key (this is the shortcut for Select All), and then tap 
and hold the screen until a menu appears. Choose Delete Contact from the menu options; 
the Contacts list is now empty. For business associates who need to share a large group of 
contacts, select all the contacts again, but instead of choosing Delete Contact, choose the 
Beam Contact option. 



How can I add a link to a Web 
site to my Start menu on my 
notebook computer? (WinXP) 



How do I update my WinXP 
computer and Pocket PC to use 
ActiveSync 3.7.1? 



Many business travelers find themselves checking email via a Web interface instead of the 
familiar confines of a Desktop email client. While adding a link to the logon page to your 
Internet Explorer Favorites folder is one way to keep from forgetting where to navigate, it is 
often slow, especially if it's mixed with dozens of other favorite Web sites. To make the 
email login page stand out from other favorites, add it to the Windows Start menu, so the 
page will launch as soon as you open IE. With your browser open, select the Web page 
from the IE Favorites and drag it to the Start menu. The next time you need to launch the 
page, just click Start and select this icon. This trick certainly isn't limited to email logon 
screens; it works for any Web site. 



Like all software, ActiveSync is subject to bugs, 
which can decrease stability or make the syn- 
chronization process work in ways not antici- 
pated by the user. To keep things running as 
smoothly as possible, you need to keep 
ActiveSync up-to-date. The latest update, 
ActiveSync 3.7.1 (www.microsoft.com/win 
dowsmobile/ downloads /activesync37.mspx), 
is compatible with all previous versions of 
the syncing software and includes all improve- 
ments made since version 3.5. Key improve- 
ments include better synchronization 
via Wi-Fi, better detection of cradled devices, 
and general enhancements to USB transfer sta- 
bility to prevent crashes during data transfer. 
The connection wizard is also improved, 
which makes setting up a device connection 
much easier. 



/' Window MobNe 



iv*Sync 3.7.1 

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If you often use ActiveSync to transfer data to 
and from your Pocket PC, make sure to 
download and install the latest update, 
ActiveSync 3.7.1. 



PC Today / December 2004 83 



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PC Today / December 2004 85 




reviews & Reviews 



The Hardware Scene 



A Look At New & Upcoming Arrivals 



by Carmen Carmack 



Storage and multimedia devices once again capture the attention 
of hardware scene watchers. Manufacturers continue to up the 



ante in speed and capacity while keeping prices relatively reason- 
able. We also look at an innovative notebook docking solution, 
several new notebook and desktop systems, a new all-in-one, and a 
compact photo printer. 



Addonics 4-Slot UDD 



Addonics Technologies' new 4-Slot 
UDD (Ultra DigiDrive) gives your 
system added storage capacity. The de- 
vice accepts as many as four PC Card 
hard drives, four SATA (Serial Advanced 
Technology Attachment) flash memory 
drives, or a combination of the two. The 
4-Slot UDD also accommodates a variety 
of flash media cards. The device comes 
with an interface cable with four indepen- 
dent connections that let you control each 
of the drives independently. 

Addonics offers the 4-Slot UDD in two 
versions: USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 
and SATA. For added flexibility you can 
purchase a 4-in-l DigiAdapter that ac- 
cepts Smart Memory, MS (Memory Stick), 



MMC (MultiMediaCard), SD (Secure 
Digital), and MiniSD media. To read 
CF (CompactFlash) Type I/II and MD 
(MicroDrive) flash media cards, Addonics 
offers a CF DigiAdapter. Addonics also 
packages four of each type of adapter 
with the USB 2.0 model for a total cost of 
$379.99. A similar package for the SATA 
model is available for $399.99. 

The USB 2.0 device has a maximum 
transfer rate of 60MBps (megabytes per 
second) and the SATA version offers a 
maximum transfer rate of 150MBps. For 
additional data protection, you can con- 
figure the SATA model with an Ad- 
donics SATA RAID (redundant array of 
independent disks) controller and two 



4-Slot UDD 

$279.95 to $399.99 
Addonics Technologies 
(408) 433-3899 
www.addonics.com 




PC Card hard drives for a RAID 1 or 
RAID system. 

The USB model supports Windows 
98SE/Me/2000/XP and Linux kernel 2.4 
or later. The SATA model operates with 
Windows 9x/Me/NT4/2000/XP and 
Linux kernel 2.4 or later. Additional min- 
imum requirements include a 200MHz 
Pentium processor, 32MB of memory, and 
10MB of available hard drive space. 



ADS Tech Instant VideoMPX 



ADS Technologies' new Instant 
VideoMPX device lets you harness 
a Windows XP computer to capture 
video as it plays on a camcorder, VCR, 
or other video source. The device's inte- 
grated 6-foot USB (Universal Serial Bus) 
2.0 cable attaches to your PC, and the 
included Ulead VideoStudio 8 Basic 



Instant VideoMPX 

$89 

ADS Tech 

(800) 888-5244; (562) 926-1928 

www.adstech.com 




software captures the video to your 
choice of the MPEG (Moving Picture 
Experts Group)-l, WM9 (Windows 
Media 9), or DivX video formats. 

DivX and WM9 video are high-reso- 
lution formats based on the MPEG-4 
compression standard. A CD-R holds 
about two hours of DivX or WM9 
video. A lower-resolution format, 
MPEG-1 is compatible with the Mi- 
crosoft Media Player. You can also use 
it with a CD-R to create a VCD (Video 
CD) that holds about 70 minutes of 
audio and video. 

With the Instant VideoMPX and 
included software, you can capture 
video from any source that includes 
RCA or S- Video (Super- Video) outputs. 
After you capture the video, you can 
burn it to a CD to play on portable 



video players, PDAs, DVD players, and 
computers, based on the video format 
you select. If you want to edit the video 
before burning it to a CD, the Ulead 
software lets you remove content, add 
background music, and select a theme 
such as vacation or sports. You can also 
adjust audio levels and add fades, titles, 
and narration. 

Minimum system requirements for 
the Instant VideoMPX include a PC with 
WinXP, a USB 2.0 port, a Pentium 4 
processor operating at 2GHz or faster, 
256MB of memory, 100MB of hard drive 
space for software installation, a rewrite- 
able CD or DVD drive for creating CDs 
and VCDs, and a sound card. 

The Instant VideoMPX ships with a 
6-foot RCA A/V cable, software on CD, 
and documentation. ADS Tech offers 
a one-year hardware warranty, tele- 
phone support, and online support for 
the device. • 



86 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



. reviews & Reviews 



Dell Dimension 3000 



Dell's new value-priced Dimension 
3000 desktop computer features 
basic productivity and multimedia capa- 
bilities. The new system, which replaces 
the Dell Dimension 2400, uses an Intel 
865GV chipset that supports the new 
Celeron D and Pentium 4 processors that 
range in speed from 2.4 to 3GHz. 

The base system has a 2.4GHz 
Celeron D320 processor, 256MB of 
memory, a 40GB hard drive, and a 48X 
CD-ROM drive. It also includes a 17- 
inch CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitor, 
integrated sound, and Intel Extreme 
Graphics 2 video. The base system runs 
Windows XP Home Edition, but you can 
upgrade to WinXP Professional Edition 
for $79. 

To easily connect peripherals, the 
Dimension 3000 comes with two front 
and four back USB (Universal Serial 
Bus) 2.0 ports, a front headphone jack, 
a serial port, and a parallel port. 
Additional standard connections and 
slots include a 56Kbps (kilobits per 




Dimension 3000 

$549 

Dell 
(877) 886-3355 
www.dell.com 

Image courtesy of Dell. 




second) modem, a 10/100 Ethernet port, 
and three PCI (Peripheral Component 
Interconnect) slots. 

As with most Dell systems, the 
Dimension 3000 is available in custom 
configurations. For example, you can 
opt for a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of 
dual-channel memory, a combination 
DVD/CD drive, a 3.5-inch floppy 
diskette drive, a flat-panel display, and 
external speakers. 

Dell bundles the Dimension 3000 with 
a variety of software applications, in- 
cluding the Corel WordPerfect Produc- 
tivity Pack, Dell Media Experience 2.1, 
Norton Internet Security or McAfee 
Security Center (90-day trial), Dell 
Jukebox Basic, Photo Album Starter 
Edition, Microsoft Money, and Paint 
Shop Pro (60-day trial). 

In addition to a monitor and software, 
Dell ships the Dimension 3000 with a 
standard Dell QuietKey keyboard and a 
two-button scroll mouse. Dell provides a 
90-day warranty for the Dimension 3000, 
and you can extend the warranty period 
to one, two, three, or four years at an 
additional cost. 



Epson Stylus CX6600 



The new Epson Stylus CX6600 all-in- 
one is a combination photo printer, 
ink jet printer, scanner, and copier that 
features a built-in flash media card slot. 
In addition, the Stylus CX6600 optimizes 
ink usage with four separate DURABrite 
ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow, 
and black). Epson designed the inks for 
water, smudge, and fade resistance, and 
you can replace each cartridge sepa- 
rately, as needed. 

For black-and-white documents, the 
all-in-one's maximum print speed is 
22ppm, and it produces color prints at a 
maximum rate of llppm. It can also 
produce borderless photos in popular 
sizes such as 4 x 6, 5 x 7, and 8 x 10 
inches. For paper handling, the printer's 
input tray holds as many as 150 sheets of 
plain paper. Supported media includes 
envelopes, photo paper (glossy and 



matte), heavyweight paper, labels, trans- 
parencies, and card stock. 

The color flatbed scanner offers scan- 
ning at a maximum of 2,400 x 1,200 dpi 
with 48-bit color depth. The maximum 
scan area is 8.5 x 11.7 inches, and you can 
use the included Epson Smart Panel soft- 
ware to scan photos, text, and graphics to 
the Internet, an email attachment, or a 
fax software program. You can also scan 
directly to a flash media card. To restore 
a damaged image, scan the photo with 



Stylus CX6600 

$199.99 

Epson 

(800) 463-7766 

(562)981-3840 

www.epson.com 




the included Epson Easy Photo Fix soft- 
ware. The software automatically repairs 
flaws that result from damage and age. 

For copies, the Stylus CX6600 features 
a maximum speed of 16 copies per 
minute for black-and-white copies and 
six copies per minute for color copies. It 
produces borderless copies, and it also 
features six copy modes including Draft, 
Text, and Image. The Stylus CX6600 can 
also create as many as 99 copies at a 
maximum size of 8.5 x 11.7 inches. 

The Stylus CX6600 is compatible with 
Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP systems 
and Mac OS 8.6 to 9.2 and OS X 10.2.x to 
10.3.x systems. To attach to your com- 
puter, it uses a USB (Universal Serial Bus) 
2.0 connection. The unit measures 12 x 
17.75 x 23 inches (HxWxD) and weighs 
18.8 pounds. 

The Stylus CX6600 ships with ink car- 
tridges, photo paper, software on CD, 
and documentation. Epson provides a 
one-year warranty with exchange pro- 
gram and toll-free technical support. • 



PC Today / December 2004 87 




reviews & Reviews 



HP Pavilion dvlOOO 



Making it easy to enjoy digital audio 
and video, the new HP Pavilion 
dvlOOO notebook is a combination com- 
puter and entertainment device. The note- 
book comes with two headphone jacks, a 
DVD drive, integrated Harman Kardon 
speakers with stereo sound, an Intel 
Extreme Graphics card, and an S- Video 
(Super- Video) TV-out port. In addition, 
the new HP QuickPlay feature lets you 
play digital audio and video without 
waiting for the notebook to start up. 

The base system uses a 1.5GHz Intel 
Pentium M processor running Windows 
XP Home Edition. It has 256MB of mem- 
ory, a 40GB hard drive, a 14-inch HD 
(high-definition) widescreen LCD (liq- 
uid-crystal display), and an 8X DVD 
drive. Because the dvlOOO system is cus- 
tomizable, you can upgrade the base fea- 
tures. For example, for your system you 



can select 2GB of memory, an 80GB hard 
drive, and a rewriteable DVD/CD drive. 

All systems come standard with a 6-in- 
1 Digital Media Reader that handles xD 
(eXtreme Digital), SD (Secure Digital), 
MMC (MultiMediaCard), MS (Memory 
Stick), and SM (SmartMedia) flash mem- 
ory cards. For added connectivity the 
dvlOOO includes one FireWire port, three 
USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 ports, 
a Type I/II PCMCIA (Personal Computer 
Memory Card International Associa- 
tion) slot, a 56Kbps (kilobits per second) 
modem, a 10/100 Ethernet port, and op- 
tional 802.11b/g wireless networking. 

The dvlOOO includes an expansion 
port that accepts HP's new All-in-One 
Media Cable to connect to a home en- 
tertainment system. Additional acces- 
sories include an extended-life battery, 
an expansion base, and a remote control 



that operates with the system's enter- 
tainment software. 

The dvlOOO's software bundle in- 
cludes Microsoft Works, Microsoft 
Money, a 60-day trial of Norton Anti- 
Virus, Intuit Quicken New User's Edi- 
tion, Sonic RecordNow, and HP Image 
Zone. It comes with a 6-cell Li-Ion bat- 
tery and an AC adapter. HP backs the 
dvlOOO Entertainment Notebook PC with 
a one-year hardware warranty, a 90-day 
software warranty, and one year of 24/7 
toll-free technical support. • 



Pavilion dvlOOO 

$1,099 

HP 

(800) 752-0900 

www.hp.com 




Kensington Laptop 
Desktop USB 



Computer-accessory maker Kens- 
ington Technology Group recently 
introduced a new concept in docking sta- 
tions. The Laptop Desktop USB holds a 
notebook computer so you can use it like 
it is a desktop model. Designed for note- 
books measuring 16 inches or less diago- 
nally, the device contains a pocket to 
hold the base of the notebook while you 



raise the computer's display to a more 
convenient viewing height. In addition 
to the adjustable height, the device has 
tilt and swivel features that give you 
added flexibility. 

To convert your notebook to a desktop 
computer, the Laptop Desktop USB in- 
cludes ports for a standard keyboard and 
mouse. The base of the unit contains a 




Laptop Desktop USB 

$79.99 

Kensington Technology Group 

(800) 535-4242 

(650) 572-2700 

www.kensington.com 



four-port USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 
hub, which is accessible from the back. 
The hub accommodates peripheral de- 
vices for use with your notebook. 

The Laptop Desktop USB includes a 
built-in USB cable that leads from the 
USB hub to the notebook's USB port. The 
cable fits through an opening in the 
holder, which you can also use to manage 
additional cords and cables. For protec- 
tion and adequate ventilation, the pocket 
that holds the base of the notebook in- 
cludes padding and a curved design. 

To make reading documents easier, 
the Laptop Desktop USB includes a built- 
in document holder. The clipboard style 
holder sits directly below the notebook's 
display to reduce eyestrain. If you prefer 
to attach the device to a wall mount, cu- 
bicle hanger, or monitor arm, you can use 
the included VESA (Video Electronics 
Standards Associating) mounting plate. 

The Laptop Desktop USB comes with 
a silver exterior. It measures 4.5 x 12.25 x 
15 inches (HxWxD) and weighs less than 
8 ounces. Kensington offers a one-year 
warranty and free technical support for 
the device. • 



88 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 




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. reviews & Reviews 



MPC Computers QientPro 565 



The new ClientPro 565 desktop PC 
from MPC Computers meets the 
demands of high-end applications such 
as graphic design, video editing, and 
mechanical modeling. The system is the 
successor to the ClientPro 545 and offers 
improvements such as quiet cooling 
technology, a standard SATA (Serial 
Advanced Technology Attachment) 
controller, and RAID (redundant array 
of independent disks) 0/1 support for 
data protection. 

With its midtower tower case design, 
the ClientPro 565 accommodates mul- 
tiple hard drives, multiple optical drives, 
and numerous multimedia peripherals. It 
includes a gigabit Ethernet network con- 
nection, eight USB (Universal Serial Bus) 
2.0 ports, and optional front and back 
FireWire ports. A 64MB ATI Radeon 
X300 SE graphics card with DVI (Digital 



Video Interface)-I and TV-out support is 
standard, and you can choose from a va- 
riety of other graphics options. 

The base system runs Windows XP 
Professional Edition on a 2.8GHz Intel 
Pentium 4 Processor with HT (Hyper- 
Threading) technology. It comes with 
256MB of memory (expandable to 2GB), a 
40GB SATA hard drive, a 52X CD drive, 
and integrated Intel 5.1 channel audio. 

MPCs ClientPro 565 system is fully 

customizable. You can se- 

lect two 250GB hard drives, 
a 3.6GHz Intel Pentium 4 
560 processor, a CD/DVD 
combo drive with Nero 
Express software, or a dual- 
channel SCSI (Small Com- 
puter System Interface) 
controller. Additional op- 
tions include a Creative 



Labs Sound Blaster Audigy sound card 
and a Creative Inspire T7700 7.1 sur- 
round-sound speaker system. 

Standard software for the ClientPro 
565 includes Microsoft Office 2003 Basic 
Edition and a 90-day trial of Norton 
Antivirus. For an additional cost, you 
can upgrade to Office 2003 XP with 
Publisher and add Iomega's QuickSync 3 
backup software. 

MPC offers a variety of repair, service, 
and support plans for the ClientPro 565. 
The standard plan includes three years of 
parts replacement, technical support, and 
onsite service. 



ClientPro 565 

$1,449 

MPC Computers 

(888)719-5031 

(208) 893-3434 

www.mpccorp.com 




Sony DRU-710A & 
DRX-710UL DVD Burners 




DRU-710A & DRX-710UL DVD Burners 

$180 (DRU-710A); $230 (DRX-710UL) 

Sony 

(877) 865-7669 

www.sonystyle.com 

Sony's new DRU-710A and DRX- 
710UL DVD burners feature a 
recording speed of 16X for DVD+R 
media, which is twice the rate of 
Sony's previous DL (double layer) DVD 
burners. With DL technology, the 
burners can write as much as 8.5GB of 



data to a single DL disc, which is about 
four hours of MPEG (Moving Picture 
Experts Group)-2 video. 

The new drives support multiple DVD 
and CD media. Maximum write speeds 
are 2.4X for DVD+R DL, 16X for DVD+R, 
8X for DVD-R, and 48X for CD-R. 
Maximum rewrite speeds are 4X for 
DVD±RW and 24X for CD-RW. In addi- 
tion, the drives are compatible with a 
variety of other disc formats, including 
DVD-Video, CD-DA (CD-Digital Audio), 
VCD (Video CD), Photo CD, CD Text, 
and CD Extra. 

The internal DRU-710A uses an 
ATAPI/EIDE (Advanced Technology 
Attachment Packet Interface /Enhanced 
Integrated Drive Electronics) connection. 
The drive's exterior is beige, but Sony in- 
cludes a black bezel kit that you can 
mount in place of the beige components, 
depending on the color of your system. 



Excluding the bezel, the drive measures 
1.63 x 5.75 x 6.75 inches (HxWxD). The 
external DRX-710UL offers FireWire and 
USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 connec- 
tivity. It measures 6.45 x 2.05 x 9.21 
inches (HxWxD) and includes a stand 
for vertical mounting. 

Sony bundles the burners with Ahead 
Nero software. The suite features Nero 
Burning ROM 6 SE and Nero Express 6 
for writing and copying CDs and DVDs; 
Nero Vision Express 2 for video capturing, 
authoring, and editing; Nero ShowTime 
DVD for viewing DVDs; Nero BackltUp 
for backing up data to CDs or DVDs; Nero 
MediaPlayer for editing and creating 
audio files; and Nero Cover Designer for 
creating disc labels and covers. 

Minimum system requirements for the 
DRU-710A and DRX-710UL burners in- 
clude Windows 2000/XP, a Pentium III 
800MHz or faster processor (Pentium 4 
1.6GHz for real-time video authoring/ 
editing), 128MB of memory (256MB or 
more for WinXP), and 10GB of hard 
drive space. Sony backs the burners 
with a one-year warranty and toll-free 
phone support. 



90 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



. reviews & Reviews \ ^. 



Sony PictureStation 
DPP-FP30 Photo Printer 



Sony's new PictureStation DPP-FP30 
photo printer is a compact device 
that creates 3.5- x 5-inch and 4- x 6-inch 
photos. The DPP-FP30 produces 300dpi 
resolution prints with 16.7 million col- 
ors per dot, and it automatically seals 
the image with Sony's SuperCoat 2 lam- 
inate. This makes the photos resistant 
to damage from fingerprints, moisture, 
and fading. 

Because the DPP-FP30 supports Pict- 
Bridge technology, it can print directly 
from an attached PictBridge-enabled dig- 
ital camera or camcorder. For use with 
a PC, Sony also ships the printer with 
Picture Gear Studio Version 2.0 photo- 
editing software. When printing from an 
attached PC, the printer produces a 4- x 6- 
inch print in about 90 seconds. The same 



size print requires about 120 seconds 
when the image source is a PictBridge- 
compatible camera or camcorder. 

The DPP-FP30 Photo Printer paper 
input tray handles as many as 20 print 
sheets at one time. The printer uses dye- 
sublimation technology for prints that 
are instantly dry to the touch. This tech- 
nology uses heat to vaporize the inks on 
specially coated paper, which produces 
a quality, photo-realistic image. 

For compatibility with the printer's 
dye-sublimation technology, the printer 
ribbon and printer paper are bundled in 
a single print pack. The standard print 
packs include SVM-F40L ($20; 40 sheets 
of 3.5- x 5-inch prints); SVM-F40P ($25; 40 
sheets of 4- x 6-inch prints); and SVM- 
F80P ($45; 80 sheets of 4- x 6-inch prints). 





PictureStation 
DPP-FP30 Photo Printer 

$150 

Sony 

(888) 222-7669 

www.sonystyle.com 



To get you started, Sony supplies one 
SVM-F40P print pack with the DPP-FP30. 
The DPP-FP30 weighs about 2 pounds 
and is housed in a silver casing that 
measures 2.5 x 7 x 55 inches (HxWxD). 
It ships with an AC power adapter, 
power cable, paper tray, one SVM-F40P 
print pack, and software on CD. • 



Verbatim Store 'n' Go 
Pro USB Drives 




Store 'n' Go USB Drives 

$74.95 to $599.95 
Verbatim Corporation 
(800) 421-4188; (704) 547-6500 
www.verbatim.com 



Verbatim's new Store 'n' Go Pro USB 
(Universal Serial Bus) drives com- 
bine security and reliability features 
with speedy transfers and a variety of 
capacities. The new drives offer a max- 
imum read speed of 23MBps (megabytes 
per second) and a maximum write speed 
of 14MBps. At these rates, the devices 
can transfer 100MB of data in less than 
seven seconds. Verbatim produces the 
USB drive in four capacities and price 
points: 256MB ($74.95), 512MB ($125.95), 
1GB ($279.95), and 2GB ($599.95). 



All of the Store 'n' Go Pro USB drives 
feature a slim design that fits in a row 
of tightly stacked USB ports. The drives 
measure 0.75 x 0.4 x 3 inches (HxWxD) 
and weigh 0.5 ounces. The Store 'n' Go 
Pro USB drives operate quickly and 
reliably because they feature a 32-bit 
ARM (Advanced RISC Machine)-7 mi- 
croprocessor. The drives also include 
advanced EDC/ECC (Error Detection 
Code/Error Correction Code) tech- 
nology, with a reliability rating of more 
than 1 million write /erase cycles. 



For ease of identification, the exterior 
of the case includes a serial number 
and label area. To protect the files on 
the Store 'n' Go Pro USB Pro drives, 
Verbatim ships the devices with V-Safe 
Security software. This lets you pass- 
word-protect access to the drives' con- 
tents, encrypt data, and create secure 
partitions. The V-Key File Synchroniza- 
tion software, which is also included, 
lets you manage data between the drives 
and other devices. You can also use the 
V-Key software to write-protect the 
drives, check the drives' status, and cus- 
tomize the V-Key software interface. 

If you want to use the V-Safe and 
V-Key software, you need a computer 
with a 266MHz Pentium II processor 
(minimum), 2.5MB of hard drive space, 
and Windows 98/Me/2000/XP. The 
drive is also compatible with Macintosh 
9.x OS and later and Linux kernel ver- 
sion 2.6.x and later. 

The Store 'n' Go Pro USB drives are 
packaged with labels, a carry lanyard, 
software on CD, and documentation. 
Verbatim offers a lifetime warranty and 
toll-free technical phone support. • 



PC Today / December 2004 91 



Software 



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E m a 



Free Email 
Clients 

Eudora 6.1 vs. Pegasus Mail 4.21c 




Pegasus 4.2 

Overall Rating: 4 



Interface: 4 Performance: 4.5 

Feature set: 4.5 Documentation: 2.5 



Eudora 6.1 
Overall Rating; 4.5 



Interface: 4 Performance: 4.5 

Feature set: 4 Documentation: 4.5 



For many computer users, a POP3 
(Post Office Protocol 3) email client 
means Outlook, the basic and unre- 
markable mail reader in Windows. 
Although Outlook is free, relatively 
easy to set up, and always available, it is 
not the best choice for heavy email 
users. Features such as spam-blocking 
or organizational tools are not in 
Outlook's vocabulary. Discriminating 
email users looking for more can find it 
in Pegasus Mail 4.21c (www.pmail.com) 
or Eudora 6.1 (www.eudora.com), two 
feature-rich and free products. 

Pegasus & Eudora 

Pegasus 4.2 and Eudora 6.1 are avail- 
able in reasonable-size downloads. Both 
programs are available at no cost; how- 
ever, paid versions are available, which 
give you a few more features. Pegasus 
comes as a full version, complete with 
spam protection, but it doesn't have com- 
prehensive documentation. The product 
is deep, so having the documentation is a 
must if you want to really dig in. You can 
also purchase personalized support from 
the author, as well. 

In a different business model, Eudora 
6.1 is available in three versions: free, 



Junk or 
Main Fo 



sponsored, or paid. When you install 
Eudora, assuming you didn't pay a fee, 
you have the choice of accepting adver- 
tising in the client, in which case it is 
almost feature complete, or a limited ver- 
sion with no advertising. The sponsored 
version has all the features of the paid 
version, except it includes Spam- 
Watch, Eudora's spam filter. 

From there, each product has 
its own unique look and feel, as 
well as general ethos. Eudora 
has an interesting MoodWatch 
tool that analyzes incoming and 
outgoing messages for specific 
words and gives the message a 
MoodWatch rating (indicated 
by a string of hot peppers). If 
someone sends you flame mail, 
Eudora warns you with a 
pepper rating. If you return a 
message to the person sending 
the flame mail, maybe some- 
thing offensive that would make even a 
Marine blush, Eudora will ask if you 
really want to send the message. 

Pegasus offers a bit more of a techie 
feel, and it requires more energy in the 
learning department. However, it re- 
wards your effort with security and a rich 



feature set. And by default, Pegasus 
blocks incoming HTML messages that 
contain images or bugs that link back to 
an outside Web site. Pegasus displays a 
message, explaining that it blocked the 
data as a privacy and security measure. 

More About Pegasus 

Pegasus is one of those products you 
need to spend time with in order to get to 
know it. Pegasus Mail 4.2 offers features 
and flexibility you won't find in other 
email clients. Pegasus is targeted at a 
computer-savvy audience, such as pro- 
grammers and IT professionals that can 
appreciate the wealth of control they have 
over presentation, spam and content fil- 
tering, and organization. Supporting the 
latest home and corporate email stan- 
dards (POP/SMTP [Simple Mail Transfer 
Protocol], IMAP4 [Internet Message 
Access Protocol 4], LDAP [Lightweight 
Directory Access Protocol], and MAPI 
[Messaging Application Programming 
Interface]), Pegasus can fit in anywhere. 

Pegasus is not for everyone, but it has 
developed a loyal following of aficio- 
nados over the years. The more you use 
Pegasus, the more you understand the au- 
thor's dedication to making it a powerful 
communication client rather than a cash 
generator. Unlike most vendors who 



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junk email messages sent to our inbox. 



jump at the chance to have their products 
reviewed, Harris was pretty distrusting of 
reviewers, citing previous incidents of ar- 
ticles and stories where his product was 
misunderstood. We were referred to a 
loyal beta tester to speak with who filled 
us in on some of Pegasus' great features. 



92 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Previews & Reviews 
Email 



Getting started is not difficult thanks to 
the startup wizard that helps you set up 
your first Pegasus account. Unlike 
Eudora, Pegasus does not currently sup- 
port importing email and accounts from 
other clients, but you can import text- 
based address books (exported from other 
clients). As you use the 
program, you'll see that 
you can set or modi- 
fy many of its features 
using text-based configu- 
rations or INI style files. 
Interestingly, Pegasus is 
only available for Win- 
dows, but Linux users 
would feel right at home 
if there was a version 
available for them. 

Pegasus' interface is 
rich, though initially 
daunting. Context-sensitive menus 
change and add access to features based 
on the current task. Menus are abundant, 
and most buttons have Tool Tips that hint 
at the button's function if you get lost. 
Pegasus has a lot of nice features, but 
finding them if you are using the program 
for the first time can occasionally be a 
challenge. For example, unlike Outlook's 
single button and drop-down menu for 
sending or receiving email messages, 
Pegasus has small, individual buttons for 
Send Mail, Check Mail, or both. 

The Pegasus product available today 
has evolved over almost 15 years, from a 
great DOS app to a full-featured Win- 
dows product. 

Security. Emphasizing security, 
Pegasus blocks scripting and remote im- 
ages. It also doesn't run ActiveX controls, 
claiming it is immune to exploits that af- 
fect other mail clients. Because of this 
"sandbox" effect, you actually use the 
preview window without risking running 
malicious scripting or tipping off the 
sender that you viewed the message 
through a Web bug or tagged image. 

Filtering. Spam filtering is something 
that's at the forefront of many people's 
minds as of late. Pegasus has a fair to 
good filtering system. We downloaded 
approximately 900 messages from a 
heavily spammed account (only about 50 
were not spam). Pegasus filtered out 







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~S - The original subject 




~L ■ Line break; start a new line 





Custom headers in Pegasus let 
you insert replaceable variables 
to make messages clearer and 
transfer faster. 



about two-thirds to the junk bin. Not 
bad without adding any filters. Pegasus' 
spam filter is based on a point or 
weighted system, so at 10 points, the 
word "sex" may not trigger the filter, but 
if the word is combined with "adult web," 
which garners 50 points, then the filter 
would block the phrase 
because the default 
threshold is 50 points or 
greater. Pegasus' spam 
rules are pure text, so you 
can get in and manually 
tweak the scores or even 
add your own criteria. 
Pegasus also supports 
whitelists and blacklists 
for absolute domain and 
address blocking. 

Pegasus has an im- 
pressive range of choices 
when it comes to creating custom filters. It 
supports basic word matching in the 
Sender, Recipient, or Subject fields. 
However, for more precise matches, you 
can use regular expressions, essentially 
giving you more flexibility. More familiar 
to a programming audience, you can use 
regular expressions to create special 
matching criteria, such as wildcards. 
Among other things, you can filter ac- 
cording to a message's age, size, or attach- 
ments, which gives you numerous 
organizational options. Need a little guid- 
ance? A basic tutorial with examples is 
only a click away. 

Managing email in Pegasus is a snap 
with the available filtering options. You 
can manually configure filters to display 
messages from certain senders in a spe- 
cific color of text, or you can route mes- 
sages to an exact folder. For example, you 
can set rules to turn all the messages from 
your spouse red so you know to read 
those immediately. Or you can set a rule 
that turns all messages that are virus 
alerts or newsletters green so you know to 
read those soon. All subsequent messages 
from the sender will appear in the colored 
text you assign. 

Collaboration. Pegasus is designed as 
a multiuser program, and it can be a boon 
to collaborative environments such as 
universities or research centers. If you put 
the program on a shared server, all users 



can access common files such as address 
books. You can also set up multiple users 
on a single workstation; each user will 
need to log on to their own mailbox. Or 
you can create shared folders that anyone 
can access. The built-in Noticeboard 
system allows for even more collaborative 
efforts. Pegasus supports distribution lists 
and groups, as well. 

Although Pegasus works well as 
a standalone or multiuser email client, 
it is also distributed as a free email 
server, Mercury. Mercury is a good 
choice for workgroups or small and 
medium enterprises. 

Flexibility and customization is ram- 
pant in Pegasus. For example, when you 
reply to an email, a dialog box appears, 
giving you options for controlling how 
the original message appears, how you 
address a reply, or even how to add a 
custom header. 

Pegasus is flexible enough to do almost 
anything you need an email program to 
do. The multiuser and network features 
make it a super low-cost option for work- 
group email. Add the Windows-based 
Mercury server, and you're all set. If you 
want to really take control of your email, 
then Pegasus is definitely worth trying. 

What Eudora Offers 

Eudora is designed for the experienced 
or serious email user. A bit more user- 
friendly than Pegasus, Eudora also has a 
range of features that make handling 
large quantities of email easier. Eudora is 
primarily an SMTP/POP3 email client, 
but it supports IMAP4, as well, with SSL 
(Secure Sockets Layer) and unencrypted 
connections. The Content Concentrator 
helps keep email threads in check, espe- 
cially when senders like to echo your 
messages back. Upgrade to the paid ver- 
sion, and you can use SpamWatch, a pro- 
gram that helps keep you cut down the 
amount of junk email you receive. 

Getting started is easy with the setup 
wizard, and if you get stuck, you can use 
the Quick Start Guide. Outlook users 
can migrate to Eudora more or less pain- 
lessly using the Import feature. Eudora 
will automatically import your email 
and address book. We ran into some dif- 
ficulty with multiple profiles on our 



PC Today / December 2004 93 



Previews & Reviews 
Email 



Outlook account, but a call to Eudora's 
tech support helped us get to the bottom 
of the problem. Live tech support is 
available with the paid version only; if 
you are using the free version, you can 
find answers to questions in the free 
Knowledge Base. 



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Eudora's statistics track your email usage. 

Read all about it. Eudora doesn't 
skimp on documentation. A context-sensi- 
tive Help feature is available for most 
areas of the program. If the Help feature 
doesn't help you, you can download the 
PDF (Portable Document Format) manual 
(at no charge), which you can print for fu- 
ture reference. This manual is quite 
lengthy; however, so you might want to 
be selective. You can also refer to the 
task-oriented Online tutorial on the 
Eudora.com Web site for more informa- 
tion and help using the program. 

Multiple accounts. Although Eudora 
isn't a multiuser product like Pegasus, it 
does support multiple accounts and per- 
sonalities. Like Outlook, you use your 
dominant email account by default unless 
you specify otherwise. You can assign 
each account its own server (POP or 
MAP), message life (choose to leave the 
message on the server, delete the mes- 
sage after a certain number of days, and 
so on), and authentication settings. 
Eudora supports plain passwords, 
Kerberos, APOP (Authenticated POP), or 
RPA user authentication so it can work 
with almost any P0P3 email server. 
IMAP4 supports password, Kerberos, or 
Cram-MD5 authentication. 

What's new with 6.1. Eudora offers 
several handy new features in version 6.1, 



including Web Words, Content Concen- 
trator profile control, and Contextual 
Filing. Using Web Words, you can high- 
light a word in an email message and per- 
form a Google search of that word. This is 
a nice feature for looking up a definition 
or maybe a product's price, all without 
exiting your email program. 

The Content Concentrator is 
Eudora's way of keeping mail 
threads in check. The Content 
Concentrator was new in Eudora 
6.0; the latest version gives you 
more control. Content Concen- 
trator clips redundant text from 
email threads when senders copy 
messages verbatim to make it 
easier to read the latest replies. 
The Profile control lets you set 
the level (none, terse, compact) of 
compacting from a small drop- 

down menu in the message 

reader. You don't actually lose 
any text in the message; it just doesn't dis- 
play on-screen. 

Contextual Filing is something that can 
help you organize as you read your email 
messages. Unlike filtering, Contextual 
Filing is a manual process where you 
highlight a word in a message and 
transfer it to folders with the same name. 
For example, if you have a Stocks folder, 
highlight and right-click the word 
"stocks" in a message and then choose 
Transfer To Stocks. 

Filtering. Filtering 
is a strong suit for 
Eudora, just like it is in 
Pegasus. Eudora in- 
cludes automatic filter 
creation from within 
messages, or you can 
create filters manually 
in the program. When 
creating filters, you can choose from the 14 
match criteria, which include such proper- 
ties as "Contains," "Starts with," and 
"Ends with," or you can choose from reg- 
ular expressions. Eudora has a Help page 
that focuses on regular expressions, but 
teaching you how to use them is not sup- 
ported. Eudora lets you add as many as 
five actions on a filter match, so you can 
color code or move the message, play a 
tone (selectable), or even speak the name 



m 



% 



Watch what you say, or Eudora's 
MoodWatch tool will scold you. 



and subject with a synthesized voice. 
What piqued our interest most about this 
feature was how we could specify an ac- 
tion when we received a message. For ex- 
ample, if you shop on eBay frequently, 
you could specify that a browser window 
pops up when you have won an auction 
and need to arrange for payment. 

Queued messages. Want to look good 
to your boss by sending out reminders for 
a meeting, but you don't want to forget to 
send the reminders? Eudora's time 
queued messages let you compose an 
email message and send it at a later time. 
As long as you have Eudora open and 
connected, it will send the message. If you 
have messages queued and shut down 
Eudora, the program will ask if you want 
to send the unsent message immediately. 

We found Eudora relatively easy to 
use, with a lot of customization, automa- 
tion, and even a statistics report. Setting 
options is clear with the well-organized, 
MS Office-style icon window. Overall, 
Eudora doesn't require as much of a 
learning curve as Pegasus to be effective, 
and it is a good choice for general busi- 
ness and advanced home users. 

Final Thoughts 

Pegasus 4.2 and Eudora 6.1 are aimed 
at different audiences. In both cases, you 
must be looking for more than the basics 
from your mail client. Both products 
need some dedication, 
and both will reward 
you for your efforts. 
Eudora offers powerful 
features to savvy and 
knowledgeable users, 
while Pegasus is more 
for users that have a de- 
veloper or educator 
frame of mind. It's not 
to say that Pegasus wouldn't be appro- 
priate for the average home or business 
user, but he needs to be willing to tinker 
to get the most from the product. Pegasus 
can satisfy users who not only want to ac- 
complish a task but also want to know 
how it works. Eudora offers powerful 
ways to accomplish tasks, but in a more 
general way. per 

by jay Munro 



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toning it down, 






94 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Software 



P r e v 



e w s 



& 



Rev 



P r o d u c 



e w s 



Instant Effects 
OfficeFX 



PowerPoint presentations are a confer- 
ence staple these days. In many in- 
stances they don't add much to the actual 
presentation; just consider how many 
slideshows you've seen with yellow text 
on a bright blue background. Instant Ef- 
fects aims to change all that with Office- 
FX, a new PowerPoint add-in offering 
dynamic motion and fancy visual effects 
designed to make your listeners sit up 
and take notice. 

OfficeFX helps users create multi- 
media presentations with cool visual 
effects, such as animation; text effects; 3D 
backgrounds and foregrounds; realistic 
shading and lighting; interactive varia- 
tions; and funky, custom slide transitions. 
With OfficeFX, even novices can easily 
create fun, interactive presentations. 

Designer Themes 

OfficeFX uses FXThemes, motifs that 
change the appearance of your slides 
without affecting the text formatting and 
placement of your presentation. Most 
themes offer some variations, allowing 
you to modify the color combinations, 
backgrounds, and behaviors within the 
theme, changing it up from slide to slide. 

OfficeFX contains more than a dozen 
themes. Businesses can commission 
company-specific themes or use Instant 
Effects' complementary software devel- 
opment kit to create their own. Another 
option is to purchase Theme Packs, 
which are groups of related themes, 
such as Holidays or Sports. 

Despite these nifty tools, you still need 
to consider the machine you will be using 
for your presentation. OfficeFX does not 
support embedding; it only supports 
fonts installed on the local machine, so if 
you're traveling and using a notebook 
computer the hotel or conference orga- 
nizers provide, then it's probably best to 
design the presentation with basic fonts. 
When OfficeFX does not find a locally 



OfficeFX 

$150 

Instant Effects 

(415)844-6217 

www.instanteffects.com 






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Overall Rating: 4 

Interface: 4 Performance: 4 

Feature set: 3.5 Documentation: 5 



installed font with proper translation, it 
substitutes the Arial font instead. 

Easy Interface 

Like many Office add-ins, OfficeFX sets 
up its own toolbar inside PowerPoint. To 
launch its tools, you just click the OfficeFX 
button, and a new window opens with its 
own complete interface. From this win- 
dow the OfficeFX Theme Wizard helps 
you select a theme and variations and set 
transitions and slide options for the pre- 
sentation. FXPreview lets you view the 
presentation as you make changes. 

Use Lessons 

Instant Effects does not skimp when it 
comes to available information. To help 
you learn to use the software quickly, 
OfficeFX documentation covers three 
levels of learning. 

The OfficeFX Quick Start is designed 
for the PowerPoint newbie. It contains 
step-by-step tutorials that explain what 
you need to know to create simple pre- 
sentations. The next level, Using OfficeFX, 
also uses tutorials but describes all the 
add-in's features. When you feel you've 
mastered OfficeFX, you can turn to Be- 
yond The Basics to learn more advanced 
techniques, such as inserting 3D scenes. 

The bad news is that unless you have a 
relatively high-end computer, you won't 
be able to take advantage of OfficeFX. For 
example, you must be running the .NET 
Framework and DirectX 9. You can easily 



download both from Microsoft, but the 
media behemoth can't help you with the 
powerful graphics card you'll need. 
OfficeFX will display a preinstallation 
screen of your PC's capability to help you 
along; that's certainly one way to find out 
your Radeon 7200 won't do the trick. The 
other is to do a little poking around the 
Instant Effects site before you shell out 
150 clams. 

If you're truly interested in creating 
eye-catching, dynamic PowerPoint pre- 
sentations, you probably won't let an out- 
dated graphics card stop you. In that case, 
OfficeFX is definitely the way to go. rcr 



by Anne Steyer Phelps 



How To 



Choose A Theme 

Jazz up your presentation with a 
theme. Begin by opening your 
PowerPoint presentation and 
clicking the OfficeFX button in 
the lower left of the PowerPoint 
toolbar. If the Themes panel is not 
displayed, click the Themes tab. 
OfficeFX displays thumbnails of the 
available theme packs in the upper 
portion of the panel. Click a theme 
pack to display its contents, again 
as thumbnails. 

Peruse the thumbnails until you 
find one that strikes your fancy and 
then click the thumbnail. Look 
below the FXPreview window, and 
you'll see your selection listed. That 
is all it takes to assign the theme to 
your presentation. I 










PC Today / December 2004 95 



Software 



P r e v 



e w s 



& 



Rev 



e w s 



File Management 



GPSoftware 
Directory Opus 6.2 



Any old-timer will tell you that the 
secret of mastering your PC is 
knowing your hard drive's file structure 
and how it's organized. Starting with 
Windows 95, Microsoft has included the 
Windows Explorer for viewing and ma- 
nipulating folders and files. But it soon 
becomes apparent that Explorer doesn't 
have much horsepower. 

Enter Directory Opus, the complete file 
manager and Explorer replacement that 
will take you beyond Explorer's simple 
file manager paradigm, in the same way 
the Enterprise will take you farther than a 
Conestoga wagon. 

What We Liked 

Directory Opus offers a familiar 
Explorer-like, fully configurable interface 
within which you can manage your im- 
portant data with a minimum of effort. 
You can configure Directory Opus' folder 
and file windows, called Listers, with 
single or double panes, toolbars, or just 
about whatever else you want. 

Extreme configurability is one of the 
coolest things about Directory Opus. 
There is an incredibly extensive range of 
preferences that you can tweak via the 
Preferences dialog box. You can create an 
unlimited number of menus and toolbars 
and then place them anywhere. You can 
populate these with any number of built- 
in commands (your own custom func- 
tions you build from an impressive 
internal command array) or use virtually 
any external command. 

Directory Opus has built-in ZIP and 
FTP support; ZIP archives and FTP direc- 
tories work like local folders. Directory 
Opus' compression algorithm is one of 
the fastest we've seen. The FTP mode sup- 
ports advanced features, such as site-to- 
site transfers and the ability to resume 
interrupted downloads. 

Directory Opus also supports the 
Windows XP CD Burning system. When 



Directory Opus 6.2 

$59 for one client license 

GPSoftware 

+617 33661402 

www.gpsoft.com 











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Interface: 4.5 Performance: 3.5 

Feature set: 4.5 Documentation: 4.5 



you copy a file to a writeable CD, Direc- 
tory Opus automatically copies the file 
to the CD-burning cache folder. 

The program has true multitasking 
and multithreading, and it can even 
take advantage of multiprocessor hard- 
ware, which means you can list files, ex- 
pand ZIP archives, and download FTP 
files simultaneously. 

The program also offers an extremely 
powerful search system that generates ad- 
vanced searches and filters using complex 
Boolean expressions, wildcards, regular 
expressions, and file descriptions. 

You can view text files and other 
types of files in the File Viewer pane in 
the Lister window. The Image Viewer 
contains a toolbar at the bottom of the 
display that lets you easily access com- 
monly used functions. 

What We Didn't Like 

Directory Opus does have a few 
weaknesses. For starters, it lacks an in- 
tegrated file viewer (such as Quick- 
View). Although Directory Opus' File 
Viewer pane recognizes many major 
file, image, and sound formats, it 
doesn't know what to do with many of 
the less-common formats. Trying to 
view a dBase or Excel file will get you a 
hex display, rendering this utility vir- 
tually useless. 

We also found that we couldn't drag 
and drop a file into a folder displayed in 
the same file Lister; we could only drop 



it into the same folder displayed in an- 
other Lister. 

A more serious problem we identified 
was that we could get into trouble by 
dragging folders or files into a network 
drive that is offline. Although Explorer 
and Power Desk tell you the drive is of- 
fline and will immediately cancel the op- 
eration, Directory Opus actually lets the 
drive accept the transfer, effectively swal- 
lowing up your files. You can only undo 
the operation if you catch what is going 
on right away. 

All In All 

These problems not withstanding, we 
found Directory Opus to be a valuable 
tool that's priced right — a Windows 
must-have for everyone, from the be- 
ginner to the serious file spelunker. per 



by Geoff Hollander 



How To 



Send Attachments 

Directory Opus includes a 
complete set of utilities for 
sending a file as an email attach- 
ment. Select the file in your Lister 
Window and send it as is or open 
the Files menu and select the Zip & 
Email Files option to compress the 
file before you send it. 

After you have selected the file, 
Directory Opus displays your email 
program or, alternatively, its own 
complete email program. In either 
case, the program appears with your 
designated file already attached. 



96 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Software 



P r e v 
Backup 



e w s 



& 



Rev 



e w s 



Nil Backup NOW! g 
3 Deluxe Suite 



Despite the realities of hard drive 
crashes and the ol' BSOD (Blue 
Screen of Death), many computer users 
do not back up their data. For those of 
you who resist because you're afraid 
backing up is too difficult, NTFs Backup 
NOW! 3 Deluxe Suite may be the answer. 
The Deluxe Suite offers three appli- 
cations: Backup NOW! backs up and 
restores specific files and folders, Backup 
NOW! Scheduler schedules backups, and 
DriveBackup! creates an image backup of 
your hard drive. 

Features Galore 

Backup NOW! is loaded with features. 
It backs up to any device that provides 
drive letter access (including CD- 
R/RWs, most DVD drives, internal and 
external hard drives, and Zip drives) and 
offers drive spanning, which allows for 
an unattended backup job to span across 
multiple drives and multiple media. The 
Include feature locates all files of one 
type for backup. There's even an option 
for encrypted password protection. 

The DriveBackup! Tool creates emer- 
gency recover discs or a drive image 
backup. If you need to restore data, the 
suite lets you restore the files to their orig- 
inal location or somewhere else. 

All these nifty features make this a 
strong contender for the newbie's dollar, 
but there are a few shortcomings. The 
program includes no preset jobs for 
common backups such as Outlook data or 
Favorites — data that new users may have 
trouble locating. And the suite doesn't 
support sending backups to an FTP site. 
The suite also requires separate installs for 
Backup NOW! and DriveBackup!. 

EasySteps 1-2-3 

Backup NOW! features a three-step 
procedure (the EasySteps interface) for 
defining your backups. The left margin 
of the window displays a set of large 




Backup NOW! 
3 Deluxe Suite 

$69.99 download 

$79.99 CD 

NewTech Infosystems 

(949)421-0720 

www.ntius.com 



Backup NOW! 3 Deluxe Suite 
Overall Rating: 4 

Interface: 4 Performance: 4 

Feature set: 3.5 Documentation: 4.5 



numbered buttons representing each step 
in creating a backup. Information relevant 
to the steps displays in the right pane. Just 
click each step and follow the instructions. 

In step 3 you'll need to specify if you 
want to back up (or restore) all files or 
only the new and changed files. If you se- 
lect the latter, you'll choose between a 
Differential or Incremental backup. Both 
create an initial full baseline backup but 
diverge from there. An incremental 
backup scans for changed or new files 
among the specified locations and then 
writes only those files. With a differential 
backup, when a file changes, it is included 
in every backup that follows, whether it 
changes again or not. 

Once you've created the backup job, 
use Scheduler Setup to configure Backup 
NOW! Scheduler to run automatically. It's 
easy to do, but if you need to change the 
schedule later, you'll have to scrap that 
schedule and start fresh. 

DriveBackup 's interface requires even 
less interaction than EasySteps. It uses a 
wizard-like interface to help you Create 
An Emergency Recovery Disc Set (a 
bootable backup of your system), Create 
A Drive Image Backup (a full copy of a 
drive or partition), or Restore From A 
Drive Image Backup. 

Help At Hand 

Backup NOW! comes with a lengthy 
Users Guide. If you download the pro- 
gram from NTI's Web site, the same 



guide is available as a PDF (Portable 
Document Format). Additionally, NTI of- 
fers unlimited free tech support either by 
phone (toll), email, fax, or the Web. 

You'll still need to consider what types 
of backups to run and how often, but 
Backup NOW!'s step-by-step approach 
should alleviate your stress about per- 
forming this task, per 



by Anne Steyer Phelps 



How To 



Create A Drive 
Image Backup 

F 



rom Backup NOWi's Tools 
menu, choose Drive Image 



Backup/Restore. In the DriveBackup! 
window, click Create A Drive Image 
Backup. Select the drive you want to 
back up from the drop-down menu. 
The second field, Perform Backup 
With, defaults to display Verify, 
Compress. The Options button of- 
fers different compression settings 
and file sizes; you can skip this step 
and just click Next. On the second 
page, select your Backup Destination 
and type a name for your backup 
image file. Ignore Speed and the 
Writing Method this time out. 
DriveBackup! selects Track-At-Once 
as the Writing Method if it's avail- 
able for your selected drive. Click 
Next to begin. You'll jump to the In 
Progress screen until the backup is 
complete. Choose View Report to 
see the backup log or Finish to 
the wizard. I 






n 



tto 
>exit 



PC Today / December 2004 97 



IT'S 
SHOWTIME 




Talk about box office hrts. Verbatim's new DigftalMovie™ DVD recordable media is so hot you can almost smell 

the popcorn. Available as DVD-R or DVD+R, this 4X speed DVD media looks - even feels - like a Hollywood movie 

reel. But don't think you need a director's chair to use them. These 

mini-reels are perfect for home movies, business presentations, 

transferring files - anytime you want to add a little fun to the show. 

And of course, DigftalMovie DVD has the same unsurpassed 

performance and reliability you've come to expect from Verbatim. 

So make your next show a feature presentation. DigftalMovie DVD 

from Verbatim. It's the reel thing. For more information, contact us at 

800-421-4188 or online at www, verbatim.com. 

© Vertoatim Corporation 2004 



iTJ \ ferbatim . 

[PUT YOUR WORLD] 
OM VER B ATI M 



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1,1! 




Problem-Solving Shareware Packs A Punch 



Fewer features doesn't always mean 
less functionality or productivity. 
Sometimes less really is more. The share- 
ware tools reviewed here aren't jam- 
packed with every feature that ever 
appeared on any user's wish list. They 
have just the right handful of features that 
get the job done. 

Whether capturing images, tracking 
tasks for projects, or just adding up a 
column of numbers, it's all about getting 
more done in less time. When all 
the bells and whistles in the 
world can't help you get it done 
faster or better, you'll reach for 
one of these shareware tools. 

Snaglt 7.1.1 

30-day trial; $39.95 
TechSmith 

snagit@techsmith.com 
www.techsmith.com 
File size: 9.5MB 



Photographic Experts Group], GIF 
[Graphics Interchange Format], PNG 
[Portable Network Graphics]) you chose. 
But what's unique for an image-cap- 
turing tool is that Snaglt also captures 
text. You can grab text from a Web page 
with the line spacing intact but without 
any font typeface or sizing information. 
But more importantly, you can capture 
text from the most unlikely places. Snaglt 
gives you a copy and paste-like function 



If all that isn't enough, Snaglt goes the 
extra mile by offering a capture add-in 
for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet 
Explorer, and Outlook. The PowerPoint 
add-in automatically adds a slide to 
the open presentation with the captured 
image. IE's is particularly noteworthy. 
The add-in automatically scrolls down the 
Web page, allowing you to capture the 
entire page at once, so no more knitting 
together multiple captures. 

The add-ins are fully functioning, 
which lets you capture text, images, or 
video with the same output options. The 
Snaglt Editor also enables customization 
of image captures, so you can highlight 
areas of an image and insert captions, ar- 
rows, or callouts, as well as add effects 
such as a torn edge or annotation. 

A picture is worth a thousand words, 
the saying goes. In a PC-driven business 
world, it takes more time than we have 
to spare to move pictures from the Web 
to PowerPoint to email. Save yourself 
words and time and get Snaglt. 



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Conspiracy theories aside, 
one of the reasons so many 
businesses use Microsoft Office 
as their standard suite is be- 
cause of the common user inter- 
faces and command structures, as well 
as data portability. Snaglt helps Office 
function the way you want it to, plus 
helps with your all-around productivity. 

Many people know Snaglt as an im- 
age-capturing tool, but it's much more 
than that. Snaglt captures only the parts 
of the screen you really want, which is 
usually the active window or part of 
one (or full screen), and saves it in the 
graphical format (such as JPG [Joint 



Snaglt's profiles simplify capturing by specifying 
what to capture (a region of screen, for example) 
and how to save it. 



Twiddlebit Plan For Windows doesn't overwhelm 
you with too many unnecessary project- 
management features. It's got the right mix 
to be an on-the-go project estimator. 



for Windows error messages, file lists 
within Windows folders, or tool tips. The 
next time you report a problem to your IT 
department, just snag the exact wording 
of the error message and paste it into the 
email. Or you could record a video of 
your on-screen movements: Really dazzle 
them by sending them an AVI (Au- 
dio-Video Interleave) file of the exact 
mouse/keyboard navigation that caused 
the problem. 



Plan For Windows 2.06 

30-day trial; $39.95 
Twiddlebit 

support@twiddlebit.com 
www.twiddlebit.com 
File size: 5MB 

Sometimes you need a little project 
management help; not a full-fledged 
project manager such as Microsoft 
Project, but a little something to get you 



PC Today / December 2004 99 



Previews & Reviews 



started in the right direction. Twiddlebit 
Plan For Windows fits the bill. 

Like any good project management 
tool, Plan breaks down projects into Task 
Lists and Resource Assignments. Unlike 
simple task managers, though, you can 
assign dependencies and lag time be- 
tween tasks, as well as a length of time re- 
quired to complete the task. And the 
Gantt charts view offers graphical repre- 
sentations of plans. 

Plan is compatible with Microsoft 
mainstay applications. It can view 
Micorosoft Project plans or save its 
plans as Microsoft Project files plus ex- 
port Task Lists (filtered by resource or 
not) into Outlook. 

Twiddlebit Plan does have a tutorial, 
which is somewhat hidden in Help; it 
would be nice if there were a wizard to 
get you started. On the whole, however, 
Twiddlebit Plan For Windows isn't too 
big or too little. It eliminates a lot of bells 
and whistles but keeps the right features 
to keep you focused on managing the 
business, not the software. 





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which offers the flexibility of Excel for- 
mulas and functions with the conve- 
nience of a desktop application. 

Calculator 2 displays a calculator 
"tape," so you can see the numbers as 
you're entering them, which is very 
handy for totaling up long columns. 
Not only can you see the tape, but you 
can also save it in five different formats, 
including text, rich text, Excel, HTML, 
or PDF (Portable Document Format). 

Calculator 2 includes more complex 
calculators, including financial transac- 
tions, making it easy to calculate loan 
payments and amortization and depreci- 
ation schedules and then save them to a 
text file or Excel workbook. It also in- 
cludes multiple unit converters, in- 
cluding length, area, currency, bit/bytes, 
and more. This output is also tracked in 
the tape. 

The interface is highly customizable. 
If the tape is taking up too much space 
on the screen, you can hide it from view 
in the Options menu. The window is 
also resizeable, perfect for those whose 



MoffSoft Calculator 2 computes advanced 
financial calculations such as loan payments. It 
displays them in the on-screen calculation tape 
which you can save as a text or Excel workbook 



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The free version of TaskPlus is fully functioning 
and reminds you of appointments and to-do's. It 
also displays a rotating ad at the top of the screen 



Calculator 2 & FreeCalc 1.2.0.6 

30-day trial; $19.95 & Free 
MoffSoft 

sales@moffsoft.com 
www.moffsoft.com 
File size: 764K 

So you think that between Windows 
Calculator and Excel, you're all set for 
computations around the office? Then 
you haven't tried MoffSoft Calculator 2, 



eyesight has been strained trying to read 
little bitty numbers on the screen. 

For those who would like a more ro- 
bust calculator, but who don't use it fre- 
quently enough to justify a $19.99 
investment, try MoffSoft FreeCalc. It 
doesn't include as many financial calcu- 
lations as Calculator 2 does, but it does 
give you a savable and printable tape 
and resizable screen. And you can't beat 
the price. 



Task Plus 3.9.3 

Unlimited trial; $19.99 
Contact Plus Software 
www.contactplus.com 
File size: 2.9MB 

Task Plus isn't a project manager, but it 
might just help you keep your head on 
straight. Unlike most PIMs (personal in- 
formation managers) that try to help you 
keep track of every possible kind of infor- 
mation, Task Plus focuses specifically on 
the to-do's of every day life. It recognizes 
two kinds of tasks: the general to-do and 
the date-specific task or appointment. 

It's relatively easy to get started in Task 
Plus: Just start entering appointments 
with their assigned date and time or gen- 
eral to-do's. Each to-do or appointment 
can have its own reminder and category. 
The interface contains helpful icons for 
frequently performed functions: add/ 
delete, toggle alarm on/off switch, clone a 
task, etc. You can also set an alarm to go 
off at a specific time each day to remind 
you to go to lunch or take a pill. 

Task Plus lets you assign a 
date and enter notes on com- 
pleted tasks, which can come in 
handy at quarter's end. It also 
offers convenient functionality, 
including a password manager 
and a Web publisher that cre- 
ates HTML files of your tasks. 
Its business model is a bit de- 
tracting though. Task Plan is ad 
supported. On the positive side, 
it's fully functioning, and you 
can use it as long as you like 
without losing any information. 
But the ads do take up screen 
real estate and they change sev- 
eral times a minute, making 
them very distracting. 
The paid version is only $19.99, which 
is not a bad price. However, Contact 
Plus isn't up front about requiring Pay- 
Pal to purchase online. The Web site dis- 
plays a Visa/MasterCard button, but 
clicking it links to PayPal. You can use a 
credit card through PayPal, of course, or 
call the company to purchase, pct 

by Cyndy Bates Finnie 



100 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 








m 

V 



The Best Free "On Hold" 
Games On The Web 



The Internet's greatest achievement, perhaps, is its ability to provide users with 
numerous options for killing time, primarily its abundance of free entertain- 
ment. Games in particular head the top of this free-entertainment list, and there 
are Web-based games for just about every type of gamer out there. 

Internet games may not boast the sophisticated graphics and sound of commer- 
cial PC games, but they provide addictive and entertaining gameplay nonetheless. 
Most Web-based games blend simple gameplay with varying levels of strategy 
and reflex skills to keep players playing again and again. Even nongamers 
struggle to pry themselves away from a game of Zuma, Bejeweled, or Alchemy. 
(More on those later.) 

Free Internet gaming isn't limited to single-player gaming either. Plenty of 
popular sites provide a multitude of multiplayer games, including virtually 
every card or board game you can imagine, as well as original games. 

Deluxe versions of many Web-based games, usually boasting additional fea- 
tures and levels, are often available, as well, usually for a small fee or as a result 
of registering with the site. 

What You Need To Get In The Game 

You don't generally need a cutting-edge PC to play browser-based Internet 
games. A current Web browser, an Internet connection (of course), and free time 
are the only prerequisites. 



Your Web browser does need to support 
popular Internet technologies such as Flash 
and Shockwave (available as free 
downloads from Macromedia 
[www.macromedia.com]), Java 
(freely available from Java 
[www.java.com]), ActiveX (in- 
cluded with Microsoft's Internet 
Explorer), and possibly other 
browser plug-ins. 

Most browser plug-ins are 
available as free downloads, and 
activating a game prompts you to 
install the necessary plug-in. Be 
cautious when installing new 
browser plug-ins. Most plug-ins 
on popular gaming sites aren't 
dangerous, but some computer 
users may try using plug-ins to 
install adware, spyware, or op- 
tional, unwanted software on 
unsuspecting computers. The 
Macromedia Shockwave player 
installs the Yahoo! toolbar plug-in by 
default unless you manually deselect the 
option. We have nothing against Yahoo!; we 
just didn't need its toolbar. 

Some sites may require that you establish 
an account before you can access their games. 
These accounts usually don't require you to 
pay a fee, but they may require you to register 
an email address and create a password. Pay 
attention to the privacy policy of any free 
gaming sites before you sign up and divulge 
any personal information. Many sites don't 
require registration. Just be aware of what 
you're signing up for before giving out any 
personal information. 

With all these things in mind, begin your 
search for online games. We looked at a few 
of the popular gaming sites, as well as some of 
the lesser-known sites, to see what they have 
to offer. 

Fred's Fiends 

www.ffiends.com 

Fred's Fiends is a beat off the beaten 
Internet path. It's also much rougher around 
the edges than mainstream sites, such as 
Shockwave.com and MSN Games, but it also 
boasts a number of interesting (if primitive) 
games that you won't find anywhere else. We 
liked Dragon Court, a basic role-playing 
game, in particular. Create a basic character 
(who has fighter, thief, or wizardly skills), 



PC Today / December 2004 101 



'■ 



Aft 



ter Five 



fight monsters, gain treasure and better 
equipment, and level up. 

Dragon Court plays like a choose-your- 
own-adventure book. Clicking various 
areas results in a random event, such as a 
monster encounter, and you can choose to 
fight, use magic, run away, or use items to 
react to the event. Certain areas link to 
other areas, and as your character ad- 
vances, youll face significantly more chal- 
lenging foes. We eventually grew a little 
bored with the game after our character 
reached the rank of Prince and we 
achieved the 24th level. Dragon Court II is 




Ocean Quest 

Siay This Brute 
Flee Foe Safety 
Tempt With Food 
M:Hypnothe 



Guts: 27S 
Whs:U7 



Gaping Jaws 
Scarred Hide 



A swellir the salty 

■ ■ ** '■'). ■■.'■' ■■ '"■■■■ 

bove the waves. It pursues your 

;:h\v p '-^r (;: ;,'::<:<■>;■. ?>v.-\:V; :?/, r^n;^UH':m: : ' v./u and 
four crew. 



Kill critters, take their stuff, and level up your 
character in Dragon Court. 



a significantly more robust version of 
Dragon Court but requires a small 
monthly fee. Fred's Fiends offers a variety 
of other games, as well, although most are 
generally crude in comparison to the 
games we found on the other sites we ex- 
plore in this article. 

GameHippo 

www.gamehippo.com 

GameHippo doesn't offer online Web 
games; rather, it's a cornucopia of free 
downloadable games that includes educa- 
tional, action, strategy, role-playing, 
board, casino, card, and classic arcade ti- 
tles. Everything is free, and there's sure to 
be something on GameHippo for just 
about every gamer. The site organizes 
games into categories, and it also features 
game reviews. 

iWin.com 

www.iwin.com 

iWin.com focuses purely on casual 
gamers, offering a range of popular card 
games, casino games, board games, and 



strategy games. The games at iWin.com, 
however, require registration, so you'll 
need to create a free account in order to 
access the site's content. 

SpongeBob SquarePants Collapse is an 
easy game that is more reliant on fast 
mouse-clicking than deep strategy. Its 
simplicity makes it well-suited to the 
younger SpongeBob audience, as well, 
although the game is fast enough to keep 
kids of all ages entertained. A rising wall 
of colored blocks moves toward the top of 
the screen. Click any block of four or more 
horizontally or vertically joined blocks to 



and maintain a Zone Friends List. 
MSN Games' Friends List works much 
like MSN Messenger, but only with 
other Zone members, so you can keep 
a list of people you meet and play 
with regularly. 

MSN Games offers many unique 
games in addition to its roster of popular 
board games and card games. Zuma 
combines basic mouse reflexes (you 
have to aim the balls carefully using 
your mouse pointer), quick decision 
making, and strategy to make a com- 
pelling, addictive game. 




In Cubis, arrange like-colored blocks into 
groups and remove them from the board 
before time runs out. 

eliminate them and slow the advancing 
wall. Bubbles and jellyfish randomly ap- 
pear and act as bombs that blow up sur- 
rounding blocks. 

Cubis is a timed, 3D game. Arrange 
colored blocks horizontally and vertically 
in groups of three or more to eliminate 
them from the board. You face a time 
limit at each level, and you must elimi- 
nate an increasingly higher quantity of 
blocks in order to advance to the next 
level. The game ends when the timer 
runs out. 

iWin.com also offers several online 
jigsaw puzzles. If you prefer the relaxed 
pace of piecing together puzzles (with- 
out the mess of the pieces), try out one of 
the online puzzles. 

MSN Games by Zone.com 

zone.msn.com 

MSN Games boasts more than 50 
free online games. You don't even need 
to register an email address to access 
these games, but registering a Hotmail 
account lets you create a Zone User ID 



Play Zuma, and you will need to chain 
like-colored balls together to eliminate 
them before they reach your frog. 

You control a ball-spitting frog that 
spits out colored balls. When you create 
chains of like-colored balls in groups of 
three or more, that group disappears and 
slows the constantly advancing train of 
balls. Clearing each level advances you to 
the next level where the train gets faster. 
Later levels have multiple trains. 

If Zuma's ball-shooting frog yields 
more strategy than you're up for, consider 
Atomaders' pure arcade-style gaming. 
Dodge enemy fire and destroy advancing 
waves of cyborgs. Atomaders (for those 
who remember the stone age of video 
games) plays like a cross between Space 
Invaders and Galaxian, with the addition 
of power-ups (not to mention better 
graphics). Destroying enemies yields a 
colored power-up, and collecting four 
same-colored power-ups earns a special, 
one-shot super weapon. 

Alchemy is a pure strategist's game. 
Turn the board from lead to gold by cre- 
ating lines of rune tiles on the board. You 
may connect only tiles of either the same 
color or the same symbol to one another. 



102 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Aft 



ter Five 






You are allowed as many as four consecu- 
tive discards per level, and each tile you 
successfully place decreases the discard 
counter by one. Once you complete a line 
of tiles, the line is removed and turns to 
gold. The level is complete once you 
change the entire board to gold. 

PopCap Games 

www.popcap.com 

Some of the games you see on this site 
may look familiar. That's because 
PopCap Games is responsible for de- 
signing many of the games on MSN 
Games and other free gaming sites. 

Insaniquarium puts you in charge of a 
fish tank. With a click of your mouse, you 
can drop food for your fish into the tank 
to help them grow, plus you can collect 
money. (The fish eat food and drop coins.) 
You can then use the money you collect to 
buy more fish, upgrade to better fish food 
(which makes your fish grow faster), and 
buy egg pieces. You need to purchase 
three egg pieces to complete one egg. 



ship's tractor beam to pull colored blocks 
down from an advancing wall of multi- 
colored bricks. Next, you need to beam 
the bricks back to create vertical or hori- 
zontal groups of four or more, which then 
removes the bricks from play and earns 
you points. Collect enough points to ad- 
vance to the next level and earn various 
block-busting power-ups as you advance. 

Shockwave.com 

www.shockwave.com 

Shockwave.com conveniently divides 
its games into Mind Games and Action 
Games. Whereas MSN Games caters 
more to casual gamers, Shockwave.com 
caters more to actual PC gamers, fea- 
turing more complex games, as well as a 
suite of classic 1980s arcade games. 

Many of Shockwave. corn's action 
games will appeal to irreverent casual 
gamers. LG Action Sports Thrash 'N Burn 
Trailer Park is a good example. This game 
gives you control over a customizable 
skateboarder in a skatepark. Zip around 




Space Invaders meets Galaxian meets 
browser-based gaming in this classy little 
shooter called Atomader. 

When that egg hatches a new critter for 
your tank, then you can advance to the 
next level. Aliens periodically pop into the 
tank to eat your fish, but you can blast the 
aliens with a handy laser. 

Bejeweled has been around for a long 
time, and for a good reason: It's extremely 
easy to play and learn, and it is addictive. 
You click two jewels to switch places and 
create rows or columns of three or more 
of the same gems to eliminate them and 
score points. Score enough points to earn 
a bonus and advance to a higher level. 

AstroPop is vaguely reminiscent of the 
classic video game Breakout. Fire your 



Feed fish and fend off aliens in Insaniquarium. 
What more could you want? 



the park and perform tricks to earn points 
and smash lawn ornaments and mail- 
boxes in the trailer park for bonuses. 
Thrash 'N Burn Trailer Park is good for a 
little destructive stress relief, although it 
requires two hands to play, and the key- 
board commands are more complex than 
many online games. The game also plays 
loud thrash music while you're playing, 
so you may want to turn off the audio. 

Shockwave.com also hosts a number of 
classic arcade games. We couldn't help 
but try Rampage. Take control of a giant 
lizard, ape, or werewolf; inflict as much 
property damage as possible; eat people 



to earn health; and stay alive as long as 
possible to repeat the process through in- 
creasingly difficult levels. Rampage even 
supports hot seat multiplayer, so as many 
as three people can play simultaneously 
using the same keyboard. It's mindless, 
nostalgic fun for gamers old enough to re- 
member the arcade classic. In addition to 
Rampage, Shockwave.com boasts many 
other arcade classics, including Robotron, 
Root Beer Tapper, Satan's Hollow, 
Defender, Defender II, Joust, and others. 

Not all of Shockwave. corn's games 
are action games, and there's plenty of 
fun for brainy gamers, too. Bookworm is 
a simple word game where you link let- 
ters to form words. Letters disappear as 
you use them while new letters drop 
down to replace them. Longer words 
earn you more points toward advancing 
to the next level. Use colored letters and 
earn extra points. If you form too many 
short words (fewer than four letters), 
burning letters will begin to appear in 
your list of letters. If a burning letter 



3 Ram pa 




fl<fi? ZU-4-« 


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1 STAR T 

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Break stuff and eat people. Rampage is the 
ultimate stress reliever. 



reaches the bottom of the screen before 
you use it, the game ends. 

Start Playing 

These games are just a small sampling 
of a limited number of sites. Any one of 
the sites we mentioned has enough games 
to keep you occupied for countless hours. 
Exploring and experimenting with new 
games is half the fun. Be warned, how- 
ever; most of these games are amazingly 
addictive. Remember to eat, sleep, and go 
to work between game sessions, pct 

by P. Bryan Edge-Salois 



PC Today / December 2004 103 




by P. Bryan Edge-Salois 



Ground Control II 

Ground Control II is a tactical real-time strategy game 
that eschews traditional resource gathering and 
base-building in favor of pure strategic military combat. 

The game is set in the 28th century, where humans 
have colonized the stars and divided into two factions: 
the Terran Empire and the NSA (Northern Star Alliance). 
After years of isolation, the Terran Empire invades NSA 
space, attempting to bring the NSA under Terran control 
and crush it. You are in command of the NSA air and 
ground forces to defend Morningstar Prime, the last of 
the NSA worlds that hasn't fallen to the overwhelming 
Terran Empire. 

To successfully complete missions, you must capture 
victory locations, which are strategic locations scattered 
throughout the battlefield, marked by glowing emblems. 
Controlling victory locations grants acquisition points, 
which are used to acquire reinforcements. In addition to 
controlling victory locations, you must capture control 
drop zones, which are locations Dropships use for de- 
ploying requested reinforcements. 

Quick and decisive tactical thinking, and equally quick 
and decisive action, is critical to success in Ground 
Control II. You must deploy your troops swiftly, take 
control of victory locations, and defend the location 
against enemy attack. You can use infantry to man the 
turrets and occupy buildings, greatly increasing their de- 
fensive capabilities. Infantry are also the only units able 
to fight from forests, which improves 
their defenses. 

Line of sight is also an impor- 
tant consideration because 
enemy positions are only 
revealed when a unit can 
see them. This makes 



intelligence gathering important. 
Weather and elevation also affect 
battlefield tactics. For example, 
high ground provides an advan- 
tage over units firing uphill. 

Supporting your infantry are 
various tanks, vehicles, and air 
assault units. APCs (armored 
personnel carriers) transport in- 
fantry quickly amongst loca- 
tions, supported by artillery 
units, tanks (called Battle 
Terradynes), and aerial assault 
units (called Helidynes). 

Most infantry and vehicles also 
have secondary combat modes. For 
example, standard infantry may 
enter rocket-launching mode, 
which immobilizes them but in- 
creases their effectiveness against 
vehicles. Ground Control II also in- 
cludes a second campaign for the 
Virons, an alien race (strangely ab- 
sent from the back story in the 
game's manual) boasting an inter- 
esting array of infantry and vehi- 
cles, different from but generally 
equal to their various human coun- 
terparts. The Virons, however, 
have an interesting ability that al- 
lows them to combine multiple 
units to create more powerful 
units. For example, two standard 
assault infantry units can merge to 
create a single, more powerful unit 
called the Infector Clanguard. 
Other Viron units and vehicles 
have this same ability. 

Ground Control II has 
some of the best 3D 
graphics we've seen in 
a 3D RTS (real-time 
strategy) title, 
with 



highly detailed units, buildings, 
and landscapes. Even infantry 
looks good at extreme close-ups, 
though you'll spend most of the 
game zoomed out to get a better 
view of the terrain and combat. Be- 
cause the game favors fast, decisive 
action, players who like the build- 
up of traditional RTS games may 
have difficulty adjusting. 

Regardless, any fan of the RTS 
genre should enjoy Ground 
Control II's single player (and 
Internet multiplayer) experience. 

Ground Control II requires 
Windows 98/Me/2000/XP, an 
800MHz Intel Pentium III or faster 
CPU, 128MB RAM , a 24X optical 
drive, 1.5GB free hard drive space, 
a DirectX 9.0b-compatible 32MB 
video card with hardware T&L 
(transform and lighting) and 
a DirectX 9.0b- 
compatible 
sound card. 




104 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



Aft 






OF 



m& 




The brutal and futuristic game world 
of the Games Workshop's 
Warhammer 40,000 universe yields sur- 
prisingly rich gameplay and enjoys a 
large following in the realm of miniature 
tabletop gaming. Unfortunately, elec- 
tronic forays into the universe have not 
been entirely satisfactory. It's time to 
shelve your apathy /negativity because 
Relic Entertainment has created a brilliant 
Warhammer 40K game for the PC. It's 
called Dawn Of War. DoW is the first 
Warhammer 40K game we've played on 
the PC that really does justice to the fran- 
chise. Some may argue that DoW is not as 
innovative as Relic's original Homeworld, 
but it's definitely an RTS that rivals the 
best the market currently has to offer. 

The intro cinematic sets the scene per- 
fectly for both the universe and the game 
(you won't be able to skip through it on 
first viewing). Before you even get into 
hours of gameplay you'll be immediately 
stunned by the beautifully detailed 



Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War 



$49.99 

Relic Entertainment 

www.dawnofwargame.com 

ESRB: Mature 




ter Five 



graphics engine and the attractive artwork featured in this game. The game 
I oozes atmosphere with fully interactive animations that make you feel like 

you're in the battle. 
Watching either a 
Dreadnaught or Bloodthirster 
hurting enemies never ceases 
to be impressive. It was also 
good to see that damage (that 
is, an explosion) will also 
throw your marines back off 
their feet and not just the 
enemy if you destroy a enemy 
building with your marines in 
close proximity. 

Gameplay is not break- 
through, but is well balanced 
between the four playable races 
(only the Space Marines are 
available in the single-player 
campaign). We liked being able 
to call in squad level reinforce- 
ments and the ability to up- 
grade your squad added a nice 
twist to the gameplay. You'll 
only have 11 missions to work 
through, but that's not a bad 
thing for multiplayer RTSers. 
The multiplayer game will add 
many, many hours of gameplay 
so you should have plenty to 
entertain you long after the 
campaign is over. If we had to 
change anything, we'd make 
some of the missions non-linear 
and improve unit pathfinding, 
which is good but not great. 
Pick up Warhammer 40K: 

Dawn Of War if you've ever considered yourself a fan of RTS games. Keep your 
helmet on. After all, you don't want to get it blown off, do you? I 







by Samit G. Choudhuri 



HomeWorld2 

Look no further than 
Homeworld2 if you're 
hunting for a more budget- 
priced Relic game. Read the 
full review online at www.pctoday.com/pctdec12/play. 




PC Today / December 2004 105 



Hardware Corner 



' ^/^ff^r .MMp^t-i^^^s 



ou should not confuse Spider-Man 2: 
The Game with its console-kissing 
cousin for the Xbox. The PC version 
of the game is targeted squarely at 
younger children and casual 
gamers, so if you're looking 
for a challenging third-person 



Game for PC is definitely not it. 

As a game targeting the casual audience, Spider-Man 2 is mostly successful. It 
is easy to learn, easy to play, and easy to beat. Most of the game consists of 
swinging Spidey from building to building, climbing up walls, and mashing the 
left mouse button to beat up villains. 

Controls are simple, effective, and very forgiving, as one might expect from a 
game aimed at a younger audience. The WSAD keys control Spider-Man's move- 
ment, the right mouse button controls jumps, and the left mouse button does just 
about everything else, including using objects, web-slinging, and laying the 
smackdown on villains. Pressing the Spacebar causes Spider-Man to duck, and 
you can use the mouse buttons together for jumping attacks. 

Arrows point the way to objectives, so youTl always know where to go. 
Spidey's spider sense periodically alerts him to danger, and the game even tells 
you which way to move to avoid danger. You're provided with the necessary de- 
fense and attack pattern you need to know in order to defeat boss characters such 
as Rhino and Puma. 

Spider-Man 2: The Game follows the "Spider-Man 2" movie, more or less. Doc 
Ock (Dr. Octavius) stars as the chief villain, though other classic Spider-Man vil- 
" is Rhino, Puma, and Mysterio make appearances, as well. The voice acting is 
handled by the actual actors (Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Alfred Molina) 
from the "Spider-Man 2" film. The best (not to mention the funniest) voice work 
in the game is performed by Bruce Campbell, who had brief cameos in both 
"Spider-Man" movies but is best known for his work in The Evil Dead series. 

Despite being targeted at the casual/young gamer audience, Spider-Man 2 
lacks variety and the explorative options that makes these games fun. Harry 
Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (www.harrypotter.ea.com) is a good ex- 
ample of such a game, providing ample freedom to explore, tons of secret areas 

minigames, and a free-form game experience. (See our review of this game in 
tne September issue, page 105.) Spider-Man 2 provides little more than a rudimen- 
iry, linear action game that, despite the fun of web-slinging and wall-crawling, 
quickly grows tedious. It might keep a young Spider-Man fan happy for a while, 
but probably not for long, and there is no replay value in the game. 

Spider-Man 2 requires Win98/ 
Me/2000/XP, a 600MHz processor, 
128MB RAM, a 4X optical drive, 
826MB free hard drive space, a DirectX $29.99 

9. Ob-compatible 3D-video card with Activision 

16MB RAM, and a DirectX-compatible www.activision.com 

sound card. I ccdr d*^**. Ew*™™* 



>ider-Man 2: The 



www.activision.com 




ESRB Rating: Everyone 



Many PC game and peripheral manufac- 
turers have attempted to market spe- 
cialized controllers for 3D shooters, 
attempting to replace the keyboard and 
mouse as the main controllers in PC gaming. 
Virtually all of them failed, and the keyboard 
and mouse lived on as the controllers of 
choice for 3D shooters. 

MonsterGecko, fortunately, learned from 
other companies' mistakes and didn't just at- 
tempt to reinvent the (scroll) wheel. The 
PistolMouse FPS is essentially an optical USB 
(Universal Serial Bus) mouse shaped like a 
pistol. The trigger is a mouse click, and a 
second trigger below the trigger-guard acts as 
the right-mouse 
click. A large, 
side-mounted 
scroll wheel is lo- 
cated on the in- 
side of the hilt, 
perfectly posi- 
tioned for the 
thumb, assuming 
the user is right- 
handed. 

The 

PistolMouse FPS 

is equipped with a high-performance, 800dpi 
resolution optical sensor, which makes it 
very responsive to even the slightest move- 
ment. We did experience a little trouble with 
the scroll wheel, which occasionally seemed 
to cycle weapons in Doom 3 without our ac- 
tivating it, but this occurred rarely. The 
heightened sensitivity of the controller had 
the side effect of making us grip it more 
tightly to compensate, which might poten- 
tially create wrist strain after long hours of 
gaming. We suspect most gamers will adapt 
to the heightened sensitivity. 

Installing the PistolMouse FPS is ex- 
tremely easy because it is, for all intents and 
purposes, just a plug-and-play optical 
mouse. Overall, we were pleased and even a 
little surprised by the PistolMouse FPS. We 
admit it; we expected yet another hair- 
brained attempt at replacing our beloved 
keyboard and mouse combo, but we in- 
stead got a cleverly designed and effective 
game controller. PistolMouse FPS just might 
make the perfect holiday gift for the 3D 
shooter gamer in your household. I 



PistolMouse FPS 
$69.95 

MonsterGecko 
www.monstergecko.com 



INTRODUCING THE NEW BOSE® WAVE® MUSIC SYSTEM. 

PERFORMANCE everyone can recognize, 

SIMPLICITY everyone can appreciate. 

ELEGANCE that speaks for itself. 




ITS HERITAGE Popular Science called the original 
Bose Wave® radio "a sonic marvel." The Chicago Tribune 4 
said its sound was "superb/' And Forbes ASAP magazine 
placed it on their "All-Time A-List" of technology break- 
throughs that have changed the world. Now, the award-winning predecessor has been 
engineered to a new standard of performance, simplicity, and elegance, 

ITS NEW PERFORMANCE 

• Reproduces one-half octave lower musical notes. 

• Produces even greater instrument clarity and definition. 

• Plays the newer MP3 CDs as well as conventional CDs. (MP3 shipping wi 
CDs can contain as many as ten standard CDs on just one disc.) vour ar Ap r 

• It may well become the primary music system in your home. I y 



ITS NEW SIMPLICITY 

• No buttons! 

• It is completely and conveniently controlled by a small, elegant remote control. 

ITS NEW ELEGANCE 

• The original model has been repeatedly praised for its distinctive design. The new 
model has carried this design to an unprecedented level with the absence of all buttons. 

• A thin, slot-loaded CD player replaces the previous top door mechanism. 

IT COMES WITH A 30-DAY EXCITEMENT GUARANTEE. During 
this risk-free trial period please compare, side by side, the sound of your new Bose Wave® 
music system to that of larger and more expensive sound systems owned by you or your 
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TO ORDER OR FOR INFORMATION CALL 

1-800-901 "0231 , ext TF164 
Be sure to ask about our financing options. 

For information on all our products: www.bose.com/tfl 64 



Better sound through researc/?® 



©2004 Bose Corporation. Patent rights issued and/or pending. The distinctive design is also a registered trademark of Bose Corporation, 
lancing and free shipping offer not to be combined with other offers or applied to previous purchases, and subject to change without notice. 
Risk free refers to 30-day trial only. Delivery is subject to product availability. Quotes are reprinted with permission: Marcelle M. Soviero, 
Popular Science, 12/93; Rich Warren, Chicago Tribune, 8/27/93; RwbesASAP (in reference to the original Wave® radio), 11/27/00. 



Last Bytes 



byGregShultz 



The Incompatible Little IBM 




It's a pretty well-known fact that IBM set the burgeoning microcomputer industry on its 
steady path of evolution in August of 1981 when it introduced the IBM Personal 
Computer, which became known as the IBM PC. However, another fact that is all but lost 
in the annuals of computer history is that a little more than two years later, in late 1983, 
IBM introduced the ill-fated IBM PC 
Junior, known affectionately as PCjr. 

Aimed at getting IBM a foot in the 
door of the home computer market, 
which at the time was dominated by such 
companies as Apple, Commodore, and 
Atari, the PCjr was billed as one of the 
most advanced home computers of its 
time. The PCjr included a 4.77MHz 16-bit 
Intel 8088 microprocessor, 64KB of RAM, 
two plug-in program cartridge slots, 
built-in sound, and a wireless infrared 

optical link keyboard. The PCjr relied on a television for video output. Running PC-DOS 
2.1, the PCjr came with the BASIC programming language, as well as a host of home man- 
agement, educational, and entertainment software. (An enhanced model released at the 
same time as the base model came with all these features, yet added another 64KB of 
RAM; a 5.25-inch, 360KB floppy diskette drive; and a color graphics card that allowed for 
the use of a color monitor.) 

Although the PCjr was extremely popular during it's first year or so, the system 
unfortunately began a downhill descent due to the fact that a lot of its components were 
proprietary, thus, making the type of hardware expansion that the IBM PC was known 
for difficult, if not impossible. Furthermore, a lot of the software designed for the IBM 
PC wouldn't run properly on the PCjr. After these types of problems garnered a lot of 
bad press, sales dropped off, and IBM eventually stopped manufacturing the PCjr in 
early 1985. 

The irony of the PCjr's demise is that its downfall was essentially caused by the fact 
that this little IBM computer wasn't IBM-compatible. I 



Look Ma, No Hands! 



While your hands are busy typing and moving your mouse as you work on your 
computer, your feet are just sitting idle under your desk. Why not put them to 
work? With the NoHands Mouse (www.footmouse.com) from Hunter Digital, you 
can use your feet to move the cursor across your display or to 
^^^ double-click an item. The NoHands Mouse was 

m^ designed originally as an alternative for people 

^j gft suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome. The 

IJ^^ K N device features two foot pedals: one rotates 

360 degrees, letting you place your pointer 
exactly where you want it, and you use the 
second pedal to click items. I 





The Petabyte 
Hard Drive 



arive manufacturing industry 
have allowed the density, or size, 
of hard drives to essentially 
double each year since 1997. 
Unfortunately, with the current 
technology, this trend has just 
about reached its finale. 

However, if State University of 
New York at Buffalo professors 



Chopra continue to have succe 
in their experiments, petabyte 
hard drives could soon be as 
common as todays gigabyte h 



Hard drives store data as a pat- 
tern of magnetic fields consisting 
of bits that are positively (1) or 
negatively (0) charged. By pack- 
ing these bits more densely, you 



drive. Unfortunately, a side effect 
of the packing technique is that 
the magnetic field weakens, 
making it difficult to reliably read 
the data; thus, hard drive manu- 
facturers are having a difficult 
time continuing to increase the 
size of current drives. 

Using a technology called bal- 
listic magnetoresistance, profes- 
sors Hua and Chopra have 
developed a nanoscale device 
designed to sense magnetic fields 
that are more than 100 times 
weaker than those current tech- 
nology recognizes. This new tech- 
nology would let hard drive 
manufacturers overcome the 
weakening magnetic field side 
effect and continue to pack data 
more and more densely, thus, al- 
lowing them to move past the gi- 
gabyte range and continue the 
tradition of doubling the density 
of hard drives every year, which 
means that by 2010 we could be 



hard drives 



108 December 2004 / www.pctoday.com 



PHILIPS 




Experience television in a whole new light. 

Turn on the new flat TV from Philips with Ambient Light Technology, and watch what happens. Your eyes see more than what's 
on the screen, as color and light expand beyond the frame and onto the walls, You bask in the warm glow of the background 
lighting that automatically changes color and intensity to reduce eye strain and provide a more relaxed viewing environment. 
And with Pixel Plus™ 2, you experience the detail and vivid colors that are as close to real life as you can get, For a deeper 
view of the entire Philips FlatTV™ line, featuring Ambient Light Technology, and to find the retailer nearest you, check out 
www.flattv.philips.com. It's unlike anything you've ever seen before. 



PIXEL PLUS 2 



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) 2004 Philips Electronics North America Corporation 




Experience Ambient Light televisions in LCD or Plasma. 
LCD: 32"-42" Plasma: 42", 50" 




Introducing the new HP iPAQ h6315 Pocket PC only from T-Mobile. It's the all-in-one device 
that lets you go into the office, without going into the office. Get the most WHENEVER minutes? 
unlimited e-mail and unlimited Web browsing, plus Wi-Fi access atthousandsof HotSpot locations 
nationwide. Find out more at www.t-mobile.com/ipaq or call 1-800-TMOBILE. 
You really should get out more. 




T ■ -Mobile 



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